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US authority issues recall for Tesla's rolling stop feature

Tesla has agreed to remove the controversial 'rolling stop' functionality from its Full Self-Driving Beta after meeting with a US government agency.

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William Stopford
William Stopford
Journalist
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That didn’t take long.

The recently introduced ‘Assertive’ mode in Tesla’s so-called Full Self-Driving Beta software has already earned the ire of US authorities.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a recall notice for 53,822 Tesla vehicles with the FSD Beta software as it may allow vehicles to roll through an all-way stop intersection.

This isn’t an unintended consequence, with Tesla specifically touting the mode’s ability to roll the car past stop signs without coming to a complete stop.

Additionally, Assertive mode will also keep a closer gap to cars in front and change lanes more frequently to maintain the speed limit.

The NHTSA recall affects vehicles across all four Tesla model lines, including the 2016-22 Model S and Model X, 2017-22 Model 3, and 2020-22 Model Y.

In its notice, the NHTSA describes the defect as follows:

“A software functionality referred to as “rolling stop” allows the vehicle to travel through all-way-stop intersections at up to 5.6 mph [9.01km/h] before coming to a complete stop, if certain conditions are first met.”

These conditions include the absence of moving cars, pedestrians and cyclists detected near the intersection, as well as all roads entering the intersection having a speed limit of 30mph (48km/h) or less.

Tesla is performing an over-the-air software update to disable the rolling stop functionality after meeting with the NHTSA twice this month to discuss the functionality and its operating parameters.

The company says it’s not aware of any collisions, injuries or fatalities as a result of this feature.

The feature will be removed beginning with firmware release 2021.44.30.15.

A rolling stop is prohibited in many US states where there’s a posted stop sign, including California.

This feature isn’t the only feature of Tesla’s that the NHTSA has been looking at, with the government authority currently having a formal safety probe open into Tesla’s Autopilot system.

Autopilot, another Level 2 autonomous driving feature, has been around much longer than FSD Beta, and is present in around 765,000 Tesla vehicles in the US alone.

FSD has been controversial since its launch. Elon Musk publicly said version 9.2 of the software “is actually not great” on the back of user feedback, although he said subsequent versions would be “much better”.

Tesla rolled out the software to a select group of Beta testers, and warned “it may do the wrong thing at the worst time”.

“Use Full Self-Driving in limited Beta only if you will pay constant attention to the road, and be prepared to act immediately, especially around blind corners, crossing intersections, and in narrow driving situations.”

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William Stopford
William Stopford

William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel (remember that?), briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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