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Tesla recalls over 2 million vehicles due to defective system that monitors Autopilot safety

Tesla recalls over 2 million vehicles due to defective system that monitors Autopilot safety

The company is sending out a software update to fix the problems.

In slightly awkward news for the cult car company, Tesla is recalling over 2 million vehicles in the US.

This is to fix a defective system that's supposed to ensure drivers are paying attention when they use the Autopilot mode.

According to documents posted by the US safety regulators, the company will send out a software update to fix the problems.

2 million vehicles have been recalled in the US.
PATRICK PLEUL / Contributor / Getty

The recall comes after a two-year investigation by US auto safety regulators into a series of crashes that happened while the Autopilot partially automated driving system was in use - three of which resulted in death.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says its investigation found Autopilot's method of ensuring that drivers are paying attention can be inadequate and "can lead to foreseeable misuse of the system".

Tesla describes its Autopilot function as "an advanced driver assistance system that enhances safety and convenience behind the wheel. When used properly, Autopilot reduces your overall workload as a driver."

Autopilot can steer, accelerate and brake automatically in its lane - but don't be fooled into thinking it's a driverless car. Instead, it's a driver-assist system, and independent tests have found that the monitoring system can be easily bamboozled - so much that drivers have been caught while driving drunk or even sitting in the back seat.

So who might be affected?

Tesla activated Autopilot in 2015.
AFP Contributor / Contributor / Getty

The recall covers nearly all of the vehicles Tesla sold in the US since it activated Autopilot late in 2015.

The software update includes additional controls and alerts "to further encourage the driver to adhere to their continuous driving responsibility", the documents said.

Some affected vehicles received the update on Tuesday, and others will get it at a later date.

In a defect report filed with the safety agency, Tesla said Autopilot's controls “may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse".

In a statement posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, Tesla said: "Safety metrics are emphatically stronger when Autopilot is engaged than when not engaged."

In a statement on Wednesday, NHTSA said the Tesla investigation remains open “as we monitor the efficacy of Tesla’s remedies and continue to work with the automaker to ensure the highest level of safety.”

Tesla has been contacted for comment.

Featured Image Credit: Credit: Sjoerd van der Wal / Contributor /Future Publishing / Contributor / Getty