Autopilot flaw forces recall of 2 million Tesla vehicles in the USA

Lionel Kong
Tesla EV

The EV giant continues to work on its driver-assistance systems as America’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration remains unconvinced


It’s been revealed that Tesla has filed another recall of its cars in the U.S.A. on 13th December 2023. The move came after the country’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration deemed that the brand’s Autopilot system, which automates the car’s ability to self-drive under certain controlled conditions, was not secure enough to prevent misuse.

The brand is no stranger to recalls that question the ability of its Autopilot system, and this one is the result of another years-long investigation into the A.I. based software Tesla uses in its electric vehicles. 

The Tesla Model Y in Singapore

The NHTSA stated, “The investigation found that Tesla’s unique design of its Autopilot system can provide inadequate driver engagement and usage controls.”

Essentially, it means that Tesla vehicles can be operating in situations where the driver is not able to regain immediate control of the car when needed, and an excess of automation could lead the car’s multiple systems to fail to read road conditions safely and adequately.

Tesla EV screen
Tesla’s A.I. software has come under increasing scrutiny in the last couple of years.

The agency has also noted that the investigation will remain open while it analyses the efficacy of Tesla’s software updates. It is believed that the systems in question could be a residual part of Tesla’s higher-level self-driving capability system, known as Full Self-Driving and available since 2016. Full Self-Driving was stepped down in February 2023 when it was discovered that cars using the system could be travelling in unpredictable ways, including exceeding speed limits, driving straight through turn-only lanes at junctions, and not being able to come to a complete stop. However, part of the software is still in its driver monitoring system, which is what the NHTSA is currently assessing.

To date, more than 50 crash investigation probes on Tesla vehicles in the U.S.A. have been linked to its Autopilot system.

The basic Autopilot system, which is essentially a fancy way of marketing adaptive cruise control that’s already available in everything from an Audi to a Hyundai, is available as standard equipment on every new Tesla EV but higher functionalities are optional add-ons. 

Currently the recall does not affect Tesla cars sold in Singapore because locally delivered cars have different systems. Tesla has also stated that the recall does not affect European cars, because there are “differences between Autopilot functions that are available on the European and U.S. markets.”


electric car EV model 3 model y tesla

About the Author

Lionel Kong

An old hand from the bad old days of crazy COEs, the straight-shooting, ex-CarBuyer editor is back in the four-wheeled world. Rumours that he went to another country to start a Judas Priest tribute band are unfounded.

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