Tesla is recalling more than two million vehicles in the US over concerns about its Autopilot advanced driver assistance system.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said the system’s method of ensuring drivers are paying attention may be inadequate and could lead to “predictable abuse of the system”.
NHTSA has been investigating Elon Musk’s company for more than two years over a series of crashes, some fatal, that occurred while the Autopilot system was in use.
Tesla said Autopilot’s software system controls “may not be sufficient to prevent driver abuse” and could increase the risk of a crash.
Tesla’s Autopilot is intended to enable cars to steer, accelerate and brake automatically within their lane, while the Enhanced Autopilot can help change lanes on highways but does not make them autonomous.
An autopilot component is Autosteer, which maintains a set speed or following distance and works to keep vehicles in their lane.
Tesla said it did not agree with NHTSA’s analysis, but would implement an over-the-air software update that will “incorporate additional controls and warnings to those that already exist on affected vehicles to further encourage driver compliance with their continuous driving responsibility whenever Autosteer is engaged”.
It said the update will include an increased prominence of visual warnings on the user interface, simplification of engaging and disengaging Autosteer, and additional control when engaging Autosteer.
The update will also eventually suspend a driver from using Autosteer if they “repeatedly fail to demonstrate continuous and sustained driving responsibility while the feature is enabled,” Tesla added.
The recall covers models Y, S, 3 and X produced between 5 October 2012 and 7 December this year.
The update was supposed to be sent to certain affected vehicles on Tuesday, while the rest got it later.
NHTSA’s investigation into Autopilot will remain open “as we monitor the effectiveness of Tesla’s funds,” the agency said.
The regulator has investigated 35 Tesla accidents since 2016 where it suspects the vehicles were operating on an automated system. At least 17 people have been killed in the clash.
It was unclear whether the recall has implications for Tesla cars in other countries, including the UK.
This is the second time this year Tesla has recalled its vehicles in USA.