Tesla issues massive recall of more than 2 million vehicles over autopilot safety concerns

Tesla is recalling over 2 million of its vehicles after an investigation found its autopilot safety system was “not sufficient to prevent driver misuse.”

The recall includes the 2012-2023 Model S, 2016-2023 Model X, 2017-2023 Model 3 and 2020-2023 Model Y equipped with Autosteer, a feature Tesla describes as “traffic-aware cruise control.”

“In certain circumstances when Autosteer is engaged, the prominence and scope of the feature’s controls may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse,” the recall notice said. 

Autosteer maintains a set speed or a set following distance and detects lane markings and the presence of other vehicles. But, the company warns that drivers’ hands should remain on the steering wheel and “always be prepared to take immediate action” even when using the feature. 

The recall was issued following a probe by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is under the Department of Transportation.

The NHTSA first investigated 11 incidents involving Tesla’s Autosteer in August 2021. Tesla cooperated and had several meetings with the agency over the next two years. 

The investigation found that in certain circumstances with Autosteer, the driver “does not maintain responsibility for vehicle operation and is unprepared to intervene as necessary or fails to recognize when Autosteer is canceled or not engaged, there may be an increased risk of a crash.” 

The safety report said that Tesla didn’t agree with the agency’s engineering analysis of the Autosteer issue, but on Dec. 5, agreed to voluntarily administer a recall and remedy: a free software update to impacted vehicles. 

The report noted that as of Dec. 8, Tesla has identified nine warranty claims received between July 13, 2021, and Sept. 17, 2023, that “may be related” to the Autosteer issue. 

NBC News has reached out to Tesla, based in Austin, Texas, for comment.

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