By on February 2, 2022

Tesla is recalling 54,000 cars equipped with its Full Self-Driving (FSD) software over a feature that allows vehicles to roll through stop signs under the right conditions.

While technically still in beta and incapable of legitimate (SAE Level 5) self-driving, the software suite has been a premium item on Tesla products for years. Introduced in 2016, FSD was originally a $3,000 addition to the company’s $5,000 Autopilot system and allowed customers to financially embrace the promise of total automotive autonomy that’s supposedly forthcoming. Features have improved since 2020, when the public beta was officially launched, however the company has remained under criticism for failing to deliver the goods. Among these were allegations that the latest version of FSD allowed vehicles to conduct rolling stops through some intersections. The issue resulted in the public flogging of Tesla online and subsequent recall.

The automaker has continued to make FSD increasingly expensive and has taken flak for effectively testing features on its own customers. In 2021, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chastised Tesla’s usage of FSD and Autopilot after numerous fatal accidents — advising the automaker to incorporate more driver-monitoring protocols and remove some of the existing features. Tesla complied, stating that future vehicles would utilize in-cabin cameras and remove some functions that were being beta tested.

Though the entire issue seems like a quagmire. Regulators pushing for the enhanced surveillance of motorists and stripping Tesla products of features is no more appetizing than paying for a “Full Self-Driving” system that’s still in development and just had its price raised to $12,000 (or $199 per month if you go the subscription route). Still, Elon Musk has framed it as a relative deal by claiming it’ll someday be worth $100,000 and warned prices will continue to climb as FSD nears completion.

This time the NTSB took a back seat while the automaker dealt with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which notified Tesla that it’s illegal to have vehicles rolling through stop signs. It took a couple of meetings, according to the relevant documents, but regulators managed to get the company to plot a recall for a feature originally released in October of 2020.

Having never considered allowing a vehicle to drive on my behalf at low speeds and being generally averse to self-driving tech, I’ve never bothered to test the “rolling stop” feature. But its supposed to allow FSD-equipped vehicles using Autopilot to squeak through 4-ways, provided the vehicle believes the intersection is clear and the vehicle is traveling below 6 mph.

Obviously, this is illegal in most places and Tesla is now having to issue an over-the-air update that removes the feature from an estimated 53,822 vehicles. This includes the 2020-2022 Model Y, 2017-2022 Model 2, and 2016-2022 Model X and Model S. The manufacturer has said it was unaware of any crashes or injuries relating to the feature as of January 27th, 2022.

Tesla will perform an OTA software update that disables the “rolling stop” functionality, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed out on March 28, 2022. Owners may contact Tesla customer service at 1-877-798-3752. Tesla’s number for this recall is SB-22-00-001. Additionally, concerned parties can contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Vehicle Safety Hotline at 1-888-327-4236 or hit up its website for additional information. Just be sure to have your VIN handy.

[Image: Virrage Images/Shutterstock]

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22 Comments on “Tesla Recalls 54,000 Models Over ‘Rolling Stops’...”


  • avatar
    jmo

    “Having never considered allowing a vehicle to drive on my behalf at low speeds ”

    If you’ve never bothered to use full range cruise control in traffic maybe you should try it before opining.

  • avatar
    jmo

    One of the issue with self driving, I think Matt has ranted about his before, is self driving vehicles following the official rules and other drives unused to people following the rules crashing into them. So the question then, and I believe this is a significant issue in the civil engineering field, is should the law reflect what people should do or what they actually do? If you have a weakly enforced law that’s seldom observed – should it still be a law?

    IIRC in most places the law is you need to come to a complete stop for a full 3 seconds. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone do that in 30 years.

  • avatar
    haze3

    Not rolling stop signs is amongst the first few things one learns behind the wheel. Rolling is illegal and comes with effectively no benefit for the driver. I cannot understand why the engineers allowing this in the first place.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    If rolling stops were not allowed, then my license would have been pulled decades ago. :-(

    • 0 avatar
      240SX_KAT

      Perhaps it should be.
      People who are sloppy about one aspect of driving tend to be sloppy on others as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        5 decades of driving, well over 1 million miles, 1 ‘moving’ citation in the past 45 years. That was forgetting to put my new pink slip for insurance in the vehicle. So your assumption may not be valid.

        And perhaps you missed the nuance of the posting?

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        This thinking is terribly flawed. It’s akin to saying Arthur does rolling stops so therefore he does 60 in a school zone and moons those using crutches while taking their parking spots.

        Probably puts ketchup on hot dogs, too.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’m surprised Tesla would permit purposeful law-breaking by the car – seriously. That’s an easy argument for the NHTSA to win.

    More interesting to me: That 54000 people are crazy enough to have paid for “FSD”. On the other hand, that’s a pretty small fraction of their delivered fleet. When Tesla is forced to refund everybody who bought this vaporware, the financial liability won’t be as big as I had imagined.

    • 0 avatar
      285exp

      I suspect that the reason they programmed it to allow rolling stops is that in many places in California it is a common practice, and the police don’t enforce the law. Being that California is their largest domestic market, it probably pisses off a lot of other drivers to have the car in front of them actually come to a stop. They have program it to not allow rolling stops globally because, no matter how infrequently enforced and how much it irritates other drivers, it is the law.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “…in many places in California it is a common practice, and the police don’t enforce the law.”

        A rolling stop isn’t necessarily unsafe. I’d rather see the cops chasing red light runners, tailgaters, drunks, road ragers and the rest of the clowns who truly make driving more dangerous.

        • 0 avatar
          285exp

          I don’t think they’re necessarily unsafe either, a lot of stop signs could be replaced by yields and traffic would flow more smoothly. Unfortunately, idiots screw up driving for the non idiots, because they can’t be trusted to be non idiots at anything requiring sense or good judgment.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Traffic circles/roundabouts are safer, more conducive to the flow of traffic and therefore ‘greener’ than our 4-way intersections.

          • 0 avatar
            285exp

            Traffic circles certainly have their advantages, but they’re not quick or inexpensive to install. Changing a sign is a lot easier.

        • 0 avatar
          aja8888

          I guess if rolling stops were allowed, we could take down the stop signs. Then all drivers could do rolling stops!

    • 0 avatar
      cognoscenti

      SCE, you have historically been a Tesla apologist on TTAC. What happened? This is not a personal attack – I’m genuinely curious about your opinion regarding FSD.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I’m not SCE, but I think the following things are all true:

        – Tesla has genuinely lapped the field in battery manufacturing and has a major competitive advantage right now in EV powertrains.
        – Tesla has done some innovative marketing that has been amazingly successful at building a very desirable brand from nothing in a short time.
        – Tesla’s sales model is superior for the consumer, in most cases, than the franchise dealer model.
        – Tesla is bad at quality control by modern standards.
        – FSD, marketed under that name, is consumer fraud and Tesla deserves to be sued over it and ordered to return some part of the FSD purchase price to all customers. The cars don’t have the hardware to allow them to achieve Level 5 autonomy, ever, and the software is also years (at best) away from what is advertised.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @dal20402: For the record, I agree with all of those points. I’d add that I’m concerned about multiple stories I’m hearing about post-purchase service from them.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        @cognoscenti:

        dal0402 and mcs pretty well summed up my view. You’ve probably missed my continuous negativity about FSD in particular.

        I’m leery of actually owning a Tesla for a lot of reasons. Added to them are my positive experiences with other EV brands that are cheaper and low drama, without the brand aura. “Hyundai” and “Tesla” don’t draw the same fire.

        But there is a lot of unfounded criticism of Tesla in my opinion, and so I’ll defend them when I see it. Hey, I’ve even defended GM from time to time. :)

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    First of all, I got super-confused because I read this right before I got here:
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/02/02/tesla-phantom-braking/

    Rolling stops will eventually be a thing when more vehicles are automated. It’s convenient for ‘rich’ people, and it saves energy (good for the planet).

    [Also your vehicle will selectively run red lights, but I don’t want to freak you out right now.]

    • 0 avatar
      Stanley Steamer

      When I was a kid I dreamed that one day self driving cars would make stop lights obsolete. It still might be possible if one day full FSD reaches 100% market saturation across all makes and models.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    So Tesla wants its’ cars to emulate the humans who drive them?

    Their new motto: more human than human.

    youtube.com/watch?v=UzcoU85mXIA

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