Tesla issues recall of 11,704 EVs over braking software glitch

Tesla has issued its second recall in as many weeks, although this may be more strategic than it is urgent. As the AP noted, The new recall covers 11,704 Tesla EVs from 2017 or newer (including the Model 3, Model Y, Model S and Model X) that were prone to “false-positive braking” after a buggy Full Self-Driving beta update from October 23rd led to a communications breakdown between two chips. The company fixed the issue on October 25th. The day before, it also cancelled the flawed update and disabled emergency braking on cars still using that beta release.

There were no reports of crashes or injuries, Tesla said. The automaker decided to issue a recall on October 26th.

The recall may have been meant to prevent conflicts with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency sent a letter to Tesla on October 12th asking why it didn’t issue a recall when it fixed an Autopilot software issue that reportedly led to collisions with emergency vehicles. Tesla knows car manufacturers are required to issue recalls for any safety issues, the NHTSA said. It’s not clear how Tesla responded to that inquiry before a November 1st deadline, but the company might now be in the habit of issuing recalls for software-related safety problems.

The notice highlights the changing nature of recalls. While recalls for hardware-only flaws haven’t changed much (just ask Chevy and LG), software-related issues are another matter. Now that more and more cars accept over-the-air updates, it’s possible for companies like Tesla to issue recalls for bugs they’ve already fixed. Brands may have to make it particularly clear when a recall demands real-world service, as that might not always be clear going forward.

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