Tesla does not contact regulators every day about serious issues with its self-driving technology.
Tesla reported a problem with its Full Self Driving software to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA) late last month. Nearly 12,000 vehicles were officially recalled.
The timing of the recall could not have been worse for Tesla, as The Washington Post pointed out in a new report. It could also be a turning point in the tension between Tesla and regulators.
In August, the NHTSA opened an investigation into Tesla's Autopilot-assisted driving software. Last month, Tesla received a letter from the NHTSA expressing concern about self-driving technology being used on public roads. The letter also warned that Tesla needed to include recalls for any modifications. This request appears to have been met by Tesla.
Tesla owners began to notice changes in their self-driving features. One user, Kevin Smith noticed that forward collision warning and emergency braking functions had mysteriously been disabled after an over-the-air upgrade.
"Dear Elon Musk. Are you out there crossing the streams?" Smith tweeted on October 24, "I didn't change that brah." This is not okay without communication. Communication is easy. It's easy to do.
He screamed, "Do not use it!" It is not recommended to be used. Smith said that he remembered another beta tester telling Smith not to use the software following the update. "We are trying wake up Tesla folks, trying to get word to Tesla. "
Others noticed false warnings and vehicles drifting into pedestrians.
In an interview with The Post, another tester recalled a "very dramatic slamming" of the brakes. "It is extremely dangerous for that to happen at high speeds.
Tesla initially acted as if the situation were business as usual.
Musk posted a tweet late last month claiming that there was a regression in traffic lights at left turns found by internal testing in 10.3. He promised that the update would be sent to users the next day.
Musk stated that potentially life-threatening situations resulting from software that isn’t yet ready are "tolerable with beta software," in an October tweet. It is not possible to test all hardware configurations under all conditions using internal QA. Therefore, public beta.
In addition to claiming that the software is safer than humans driving the car, the CEO also stated repeatedly over the years. However, he was also the first person to admit that self-driving is a difficult problem in July's tweet.
Tesla continues to develop its Full Self-Driving beta despite regulators' increased scrutiny. However, the recall could signal a shift in the company's direction.
In a October 29 update, the company stated that it was aware of these issues and claimed it had "investigated them and taken actions to mitigate any safety risk" within "a matter of hours."
The automaker appears to be more aware of the fact that all eyes are on them. However, regulators are still not sure what it will take to take the half-baked self driving software off public roads.
Recent incidents show that one bugger over-the-air update can have devastating consequences.
Musk believes regulation is a barrier to innovation. Is it worth risking our lives to achieve cutting-edge, self driving innovation?
READ MORE: Tesla's latest Full Self-Driving Update made cars go crazy. This may be the excuse regulators needed. [The Washington Post]
Do you care about clean energy adoption? Learn how much money and planet you could save by switching to solar power at UnderstandSolar.com. UnderstandSolar.com can show you how much money and planet you could save by switching over to solar power. Futurism.com might earn a small commission if you sign up via this link.