Tesla Investigated over Phantom Braking—416,000 Vehicles Concerned

  • The Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration introduced this week it has opened an investigation into over 400,000 Teslas—all 2021 and 2022 mannequin yr Tesla Mannequin 3 and Mannequin Y electrical automobiles—for issues with their automated emergency braking programs.
  • This isn’t the primary time Tesla has needed to cope with NHTSA about its doubtlessly defective AEB expertise. In October, Tesla recalled virtually 12,000 of its EVs as a result of an over-the-air replace prompted communication issues between two chips that assist run the AEB programs.
  • Different automakers, together with Nissan and autonomous shuttle firm EasyMile, have additionally had issues with their AEB programs.

    New applied sciences can result in new issues, for which we typically should invent new terminologies. Within the automotive world, the rising variety of vehicles with automated emergency brake functionality has led to one thing known as “phantom braking,” which is when the AEB system thinks it must brake with a view to forestall a collision, however there’s really nothing there to hit.

    This week, the Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration (NHTSA) mentioned it has acquired 354 complaints from Tesla drivers regarding these surprising computerized braking incidents over the previous 9 months. NHTSA mentioned that Tesla drivers have reported “that the speedy deceleration can happen with out warning, at random, and sometimes repeatedly in a single drive cycle.”

    The difficulty doubtlessly impacts round 416,000 automobiles, all 2021 and 2022 Tesla Mannequin 3 and Mannequin Y electrical automobiles, and the rise in complaints broadly tracks Tesla’s shift away from multi-sensor notion programs that use each radar and cameras to the brand new Tesla Imaginative and prescient system that depends solely on cameras. Since Might 2021, Tesla has not put in radar sensors in its Mannequin 3 and Mannequin Y vehicles constructed for the North American market. Tesla CEO Elon Musk nonetheless champions the camera-only system, tweeting final December that “Whereas radar has bother seeing small pedestrians, they’re apparent to Tesla Imaginative and prescient.” NHTSA’s Workplace of Defects Investigation has opened a Preliminary Analysis into the problem and mentioned it’s not conscious of any crashes or accidents associated to the problem.

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    This isn’t the primary time that NHTSA has appeared into Tesla’s phantom braking drawback. Final October, NHTSA introduced Tesla would recall some 2017–2021 Mannequin S, Mannequin 3, Mannequin X, and 2020–2021 Mannequin Y automobiles (a complete of 11,728 items) as a result of a “communication error might trigger false forward-collision warning (FCW) or surprising activation of the automated emergency brake (AEB) system.”

    NHTSA mentioned on the time that the issue was an over-the-air software program replace that launched a communication drawback between two onboard chips when the automobile would come out of Sentry mode or Summon Standby mode. At these instances, one of many chips might stay in a low-power “sleep” state, NHTSA mentioned, with the impact that the video neural networks that function on one of many chips then wouldn’t accurately talk with the opposite chip after which “run much less persistently than anticipated.” When this occurred, an affected automobile might incorrectly determine objects round it, and this occurred sufficient instances that Tesla drivers quickly reported a noticeable improve within the variety of issues with forward-collision warnings and AEB occasions. Tesla instructed NHTSA it resolved the problem with a follow-up OTA replace.

    Tesla isn’t the one automaker going through questions over phantom braking issues. In 2020, autonomous shuttle operator EasyMile was compelled to droop operations when considered one of its automobiles injured a passenger in an abrupt cease. In 2019, NHTSA appeared into phantom braking issues in 2017–2018 Nissan Rogue SUVs following driver complaints. NHTSA introduced in late 2020 that it was working with 20 automakers on a voluntary foundation to make low-speed AEB and forward-collision-warning programs customary on “virtually all new passenger automobiles” by August 31, 2023.

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    Patrick Moore

    Patrick is our chief editor and he's very passionate about cars. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing and he studies journalism. His favorite brand is BMW and he drives an X5 series. When he's not writing for Vehiclenews.net, he enjoys spending time with his family and 9 years old son.

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