NHTSA and Tesla Issue ‘Recall’ for Models Equipped With ‘Full Self-Driving’ Because It Sometimes Breaks the Law
Jason Torchinsky, the Autopian:
Tesla is recalling 362,758 vehicles after a new report from the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration called out its Full Self-Driving Beta (FSD Beta) software for a reason that, when you think about it, is surprisingly human for a computer-based AI system: it sometimes breaks traffic laws.
The reason I put “recall” in quotation marks in the headline is because, like many Tesla recalls, this does not require owners to bring them into a dealership for a parts exchange or something; Tesla says it will be fixing these problems with a software update. And the reason I put “full self-driving” in quotation marks is, well, you know.
From that report (PDF):
In certain rare circumstances and within the operating limitations of FSD Beta, when the feature is engaged, the feature could potentially infringe upon local traffic laws or customs while executing certain driving maneuvers in the following conditions before some drivers may intervene: 1) traveling or turning through certain intersections during a stale yellow traffic light; 2) the perceived duration of the vehicle’s static position at certain intersections with a stop sign, particularly when the intersection is clear of any other road users; 3) adjusting vehicle speed while traveling through certain variable speed zones, based on detected speed limit signage and/or the vehicle’s speed offset setting that is adjusted by the driver; and 4) negotiating a lane change out of certain turn-only lanes to continue traveling straight.
Sometimes Teslas run yellow lights when they should not, do not come to a textbook complete stop at stop signs, do not follow the speed limit, and ignore lane signage. The joke here is that a Tesla in autonomous mode drives like everyone else.
But it should not, right? Like, is that not the whole point of autonomous cars? Self-driving advocates routinely say that human beings are bad drivers and we should let computers take over. So, while these systems are not commonplace and dependent on driver attention, they should follow the law or, at the very least, not drive like an asshole. The same is true for human drivers, too.
We should also fund the rest of the mobility pyramid with an embarrassment of riches.