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Tesla Receives Widespread Reports of Phantom Braking on Newest Models

According to The Washington Post, Tesla vehicles have been slamming on their brakes for no apparent reason, alarming owners and resulting in over 100 complaints to the federal authorities in only the last three months.

For the carmaker, it’s been a recurring problem. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter in October that the firm had to “roll back” version 10.3 of its Full Self-Driving beta software due to concerns with front collision warnings and phantom braking.

However, the number of complaints concerning Tesla’s brakes has increased since then. According to The Washington Post’s investigation, Tesla owners reported 107 phantom braking issues to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the last three months, up from 34 in the previous 22 months.

Multiple occurrences of severe ‘phantom breaking [sic]’ when the car slams on the brakes [sic] for no apparent reason while using adaptive cruise control with autopilot steering (as well as without Autosteer),” a Model Y owner from Sterling, Ill., stated in a November 16th complaint. “There are no other automobiles in the area.” “It’s a flat, wide roadway.”

Another Model Y owner noted that after installing FSD in October 2021, they “immediately” noticed difficulties with Autopilot and Traffic-Aware Cruise Control, including “spurious forward collision alerts.” This individual commented, “These alerts included the typical warning beeps and red indications on the driving display, and at one point included an unwarranted emergency braking event when no impediment was in front of me.” As a result, one individual stated, “I had resorted to driving the automobile in manual mode, not on autopilot.”

“Numerous phantom braking incidents when on [A]utopilot,” according to a Model 3 owner in San Ramon, Calif. These appear out of nowhere, in a variety of circumstances, and for no apparent cause.”

The issue might be linked to Tesla’s contentious decision to remove radar sensors from new Model 3 and Model Y vehicles last year. Musk made the move after publicly expressing his desire for the company’s sophisticated driving assistance system to be powered by cameras.

Safety experts and authorities have chastised Tesla for allowing customers to test what is effectively an incomplete version of a product that Musk has long claimed will lead to fully autonomous vehicles on the road. The business was obliged to provide a software update earlier this week to eliminate an FSD function that allows automobiles to make a “rolling stop,” which is a movement in which the vehicle drives slowly through a stop sign without coming to a complete stop. (Despite being prohibited in all 50 states, a rolling halt is a typical driving move.)

“We are aware of complaints received concerning forward collision avoidance and are examining them through our risk-based evaluation procedure,” an NHTSA official stated. Discussions with the manufacturer are part of this process, as is analyzing additional data sources, such as data from the Early Warning Reporting system. If the facts indicate that a danger exists, the NHTSA will take quick action.”

Musk mentioned FSD as a “key area of effort” during an earnings call last week. On local roads, FSD is a beta version of a sophisticated driver-assist system that manages parts of the car’s operations but still needs human supervision. Autonomous vehicles, on the other hand, are vehicles that can run on public highways without the need for human involvement or supervision.

Despite this, the business says that FSD would result in increased profitability in the future due to “greater vehicle utilization.” Musk has stated that once Tesla’s cars are capable of self-driving, the business would turn that technology into a fleet of robotaxis. The idea is for each Tesla customer’s car to be able to function as an autonomous vehicle that other people can hail while the owner isn’t using it.

Tesla said it deployed seven over-the-air software upgrades for FSD during the quarter, and that the advanced driver assist technology is presently installed in 60,000 vehicles in the United States.

Last October, reports about difficulties with some Tesla automobiles began to appear on social media. Owners reported that the FSD 10.3 upgrade caused phantom forward collision alerts, while others reported a missing Autosteer option, TACC issues, and occasional Autopilot panic.

It’s now obvious that some owners were also registering complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To be clear, the agency does not check each allegation individually. When reporting a complaint to the agency, owners must include a description of the problem, their vehicle identification number, and other identifying information.

A Tesla Model Y with FSD allegedly crashed southeast of Los Angeles late last year. Although no one was hurt in the accident, the car was said to be “severely damaged.” The event was reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), however there were no media coverage of the collision, causing some Tesla aficionados to reject it as a hoax.

Bob Carlson
Bob Carlson
Bob Carlson is a business journalist, with over a decade of experience in the trenches of reporting up-to-date business news for publications all over the world. With a wealth of knowledge at his back, Bob strives to bring the most important insights into the business world for TheOptic daily.
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