Tesla confirmed it has suspended the deployment of its controversial Full Self-Driving technology that it sells for $15,000 pending the outcome of a recall.
Elon Musk had been asked by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in mid-February to fix FSD software problems across 362,758 vehicles sold in the United States that could infringe upon local traffic laws and increase risk.
“Until the software version containing the fix is available, we have paused the rollout of FSD Beta to all who have opted-in, but have not yet received a software version containing FSD Beta,” it said in an undated statement.
Tesla agreed with NHTSA to issue a voluntary recall, a confusing misnomer that suggests a non-mandatory physical return of vehicles to a mechanic. In reality, it simply means a regulatory procedure conducted by the company – but supervised by the federal agency – to enforce compliance that includes remotely issuing an over-the-air software patch.
Normally a voluntary recall would make it illegal to sell a car with FSD installed until the safety issue has been solved to NHTSA’s satisfaction, but the company lacks a public relations department and had not commented at the time of NHTSA’s announcement.
I’m really disappointed. Can anyone really read this and feel like we are where we thought we were? I am all in on #FSDBeta and supportive of the path we are on, but this wording sounds so “legal” that I am not sure what to expect going forward. https://t.co/zKtggsUAqb… https://t.co/5oKPQxdrLW
— Chuck Cook (@chazman) February 27, 2023
Investor Day issues for Musk
The news comes just as Tesla is hosting its Investor Day on Wednesday, when it is expected to brief on a number of issues ranging from scaling up in size through a new affordable entry model to its fourth-generation FSD computer called Hardware 4 (HW4).
A key issue expected to be discussed on Wednesday is whether in fact HW4 can be retrofitted to the existing Tesla fleet.
At least 400,000 drivers in the U.S. and Canada have paid for FSD, a feature that is tied to the car and is forfeited upon sale of ownership.
If Tesla cannot economically retrofit the cars with the latest hardware to fulfill its robotaxi promise, it could face fresh fraud lawsuits.
Simultaneously, Musk has been flagging a new v11 of FSD Beta would soon be deployed that would unify highway, urban and parking lot driving into a so-called single software stack.
This innovation, expected to act as a catalyst for quicker iterative improvements by removing complexity, has been promised to customers since July 2021.
“I’m really disappointed,” wrote Chuck Cook, a well-known Tesla FSD Beta tester, who is currently in transit to Austin, Texas for Investor Daay. “Can anyone really read this and feel like we are where we thought we were?”
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