Elon Musk’s Tesla recalls two million cars in US over Autopilot defect

Tesla is recalling more than two million cars after the US regulator found its driver assistance system, Autopilot, was partly defective.

It follows a two-year investigation into crashes which occurred when the tech was in use.

The recall applies to almost every Tesla sold in the US since the Autopilot feature was launched in 2015.

Tesla, owned by billionaire Elon Musk, said it would send a software update “over the air” to fix the issue.

The update happens automatically and does not require a visit to a dealership or garage, but is still referred to by the US regulator as a recall.

The UK Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency said it was not aware of any safety issues involving Teslas in the UK, noting that cars sold in the UK are not equipped with all of the same features as cars in the US.

“Teslas sold in the UK market are not self-driving and are not approved to do so,” a spokesperson said, adding that the agency would continue to monitor the situation.

Autopilot is meant to help with steering, acceleration and braking – but, despite the name, the car still requires driver input.

Tesla’s software is supposed to make sure that drivers are paying attention and that the feature is only in use in appropriate conditions, such as driving on highways.

But the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said a two-year investigation of 956 Tesla crashes found that “the prominence and scope of the feature’s controls may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse”.

“Automated technology holds great promise for improving safety but only when it is deployed responsibly”, the NHTSA wrote, adding it would continue to monitor the software once it was updated.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

According to the recall notice, the company did not concur with the agency’s analysis but agreed to add new features to resolve the concerns, including additional checks on turning on the self-driving features.

The recall comes a week after a former Tesla employee told the BBC he believed the technology was not safe.

Lukasz Krupski, speaking after winning the Blueprint Prize which recognises whistleblowers, told the BBC: “I don’t think the hardware is ready and the software is ready”.

Source: BBC

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