Tesla Model S

Tesla ordered to recall 2m cars after investigation into Autopilot software

Software patch designed to encourage driver awareness
Tesla Model S

14 December 2023

Tesla is taking sweeping steps to improve the safety of its Autopilot system by implementing software updates to more than 2 million vehicles in the US. The recall covers models S, 3, X and Y produced between 5 October 2012 and 7 December 2023.

The recall marks a critical moment in the development of autonomous driving technologies, focusing on the balance between innovation and user safety. It highlights the need for continuous adjustments in the rapidly evolving self-driving car sector.

The update follows an extensive investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) into 35 accidents involving Tesla vehicles using Autopilot, leading to the deaths of more than 30 people.




In 2021 a probe was opened into how Tesla cars were colliding with stationary emergency services vehicles. The investigation was later widened with 273 separate cases identified.

A recent study by the US user organisation Customer Reports analysing 12 car driver assistance systems ranked Autopilot in seventh place, noting that driver overconfidence can lead to “predictable abuse of the system”.

The patched software will more strictly monitor whether drivers remain attentive while using Autopilot.

The recall highlights the challenges facing manufacturers of self-driving cars, particularly around safety and driver accountability.

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