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Tesla drivers reporting instances of phantom braking

Tesla is always in the news, but not always for the right reasons. Lately, there have been reports of the EVs braking for no explainable reasons. Owners have put in more than 100 reports of such dangerous incidents just in the last three months.

The popular electric vehicle maker has not always got its software updates right on the first try, leading to several rollbacks. The latest update mishap was in October last year when the company had to reverse the Full Self-Driving beta version 10.3 when it was causing issues with forward-collision warnings and braking suddenly.

However, since the rollback, it appears the braking issue has spread to more cars, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) receiving 107 complaints, compared to only 34 in 22 months.

Here are two samples from the complaints:

“Using adaptive cruise control with autopilot steering (as well as without Autosteer), multiple episodes of severe ‘phantom breaking [sic]’ where the car slams on the breaks [sic] for no apparent reason. No other cars around. Flat, clear open freeway.”

A Model Y owner installed FSD in October 2021 said “immediately” began to experience issues with Autopilot and Traffic-Aware Cruise Control, including “spurious forward-collision warnings.” “These warnings involved the standard warning beeps and red indicators on the driving display, and at one point included an unnecessary emergency braking incident when no obstacle was in front of me,” this driver wrote. “As such, I had reverted to driving the car in manual mode, not on autopilot.”

While Tesla would like to think otherwise, these incidents may not be unconnected to its decision to eliminate radar sensors from the Model 3 and Model Y last year. The company opted to rely on cameras to monitor the environment.

Tesla is also notorious for letting drivers test unfinished autonomous driving software on a large scale, with many failed promises of exiting the beta stage. As such, drivers participating in the beta are always one update away from controlling their cars on the highway with problematic software. For instance, Tesla recently sent an update to address rolling stops, where the vehicle slowly moves through a stop sign without coming to a full stop, an illegal practice in the US.

The NHTSA has put out a statement through its spokesperson saying it is “aware of complaints received about forward collision avoidance and is reviewing them through our risk-based evaluation process. This process includes discussions with the manufacturer, as well as reviewing additional data sources, including Early Warning Reporting data. If the data show that a risk may exist, NHTSA will act immediately.”

Despite the unfinished nature of its FSD software, Tesla claimed the feature would bring in more profit through the higher utilization of the cars. The company plans to float a robotaxi service that will let Tesla owners give up their vehicles for ride-hailing when not using them. The vehicles will drive themselves, and Tesla and the owner will share the proceeds.

More than 60,000 drivers are currently using FSD in the US.

Written by HackerVibes

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