On August 16th, 2021, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a formal investigation into the Tesla driver assistance system Autopilot. Although no official recall has been initiated by Tesla or the NHTSA, the manufacturer has reportedly been sending documents to authorized service providers since last November 2021 asking them to replace faulty driver assistance cameras at no cost to car owners. According to internal documents, Tesla will be picking up the bill for these services.
The original 2021 NHTSA investigation impacted 765,000 U.S. Tesla vehicles, including Models Y, X, S, and 3, released between 2014 and 2021 that utilized the Autopilot driver assistance system. Internal documents show that some of the company’s Model S, X, and 3 vehicles were fitted with repeater cameras that had faulty printed circuit boards, causing blind spots for drivers. Further, these defective cameras cannot communicate with the vehicle’s Autopilot system.
CNBC reported that when repeater cameras are not working a driver may see a blank or choppy video feed on their vehicle’s dashboard display. The driver would then lose visibility into their car’s blindspots and would cease to receive notifications from the vehicle’s Autopilot system to let them know that driver assistance functionality is limited. Fully functioning repeater cameras, which are installed in front of some Tesla vehicle’s fenders, allow drivers to enable driver assistance features, such as Autopilot, Navigate on Autopilot, and Smart Summon.
The NHTSA’s preliminary investigation in 2021 was initiated after regulators identified over twelve car crashes involving Tesla Inc. vehicles using advanced driver assistance systems where these cars struck emergency vehicles. To date, no recall has been initiated related to this investigation, although Tesla voluntarily recalled thousands of Model Y crossover utility vehicles due to weak suspension parts that could fracture easily and cause a vehicle to crash, affecting an estimated 21,599 vehicles in China and 826 in the United States.
Drivers of Model S, X, and 3 vehicles are encouraged to contact their local authorized service provider and request a replacement of the car’s repeater camera at no charge. For more information about Tesla’s recent recalls, individuals may visit www.tesla.com/support/annual-and-recall-service.
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If you’ve been negatively affected by a Tesla vehicle or another manufacturer’s defective product, it is imperative you speak to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Our team has more than 30 years of experience working one-on-one with clients to get the justice, recovery, and compensation they deserve. Call us today for a free consultation about your case at (305) 662-6178.