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Tesla recalls nearly 363,000 cars with 'Full Self-Driving' to fix flaws in behavior

Tesla cars are loaded onto carriers at the automaker's plant in Fremont, Calif., on May 13, 2020. The company is recalling nearly 363,000 vehicles with its "Full Self-Driving" system.
Ben Margot
/
AP
Tesla cars are loaded onto carriers at the automaker's plant in Fremont, Calif., on May 13, 2020. The company is recalling nearly 363,000 vehicles with its "Full Self-Driving" system.

Updated February 16, 2023 at 1:51 PM ET

DETROIT — Tesla is recalling nearly 363,000 vehicles with its "Full Self-Driving" system to fix problems with the way it behaves around intersections and following posted speed limits.

The recall, part of a larger investigation by U.S. safety regulators into Tesla's automated driving systems, came after regulators expressed concerns about the way Tesla's system responds in four areas along roads.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in documents posted Thursday that Tesla will fix the concerns with an online software update in the coming weeks.

The documents say Tesla is doing the recall but does not agree with an agency analysis of the problem.

The system, which is being tested on public roads by as many as 400,000 Tesla owners, makes unsafe actions such as traveling straight through an intersection while in a turn-only lane, failing to come to a complete stop at stop signs, or going through an intersection during a yellow traffic light without proper caution, NHTSA said.

In addition, the system may not adequately respond to changes in posted speed limits, or it may not account for the driver's adjustments in speed, the documents said.

"FSD beta software that allows a vehicle to exceed speed limits or travel through intersections in an unlawful or unpredictable manner increases the risk of a crash," the agency said in documents.

A message was left Thursday seeking comment from Tesla, which has disbanded its media relations department.

Tesla has received 18 warranty claims that could be caused by the software from May of 2019 through Sept. 12, 2022. But the Austin, Texas, electric vehicle maker told the agency it is not aware of any deaths or injuries.

In a statement, NHTSA said it found the problem during tests performed as part of an investigation into "Full Self-Driving" and "Autopilot" software that take on some driving tasks. "As required by law and after discussions with NHTSA, Tesla launched a recall to repair those defects," the agency said.

Despite their names and claims by CEO Elon Musk that "Full Self-Driving" vehicles don't need human intervention, Tesla says on its website that the cars cannot drive themselves and owners must be ready to intervene at all times.

NHTSA's testing found that "Autosteer on City Streets," which is part of Tesla's FSD beta testing, "led to an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety based on insufficient adherence to traffic safety laws."

The recall covers certain 2016-2023 Model S and Model X vehicles, as well as 2017 through 2013 Model 3s, and 2020l through 2023 Model Y vehicles equipped with the software, or with installation pending.

Shares of Tesla fell about 2% in Thursday afternoon trading. The stock has rallied about 71% in the year to date, reversing 2022's hefty loss.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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The Associated Press