Despite some controversy, the Tesla Full Self Driving beta rolled out to select participants in early October 2021. Tesla owners who wanted to be part of the Beta test had to pay a hefty fee and prove they were safe drivers by allowing Tesla to monitor their driving habits. However, Tesla recently rolled back a recent update to the beta due to potentially dangerous glitches.
Tesla Full Self Driving Beta temporarily pulled from users
Over the weekend, Tesla had to pull an update to its Full Self Driving Beta software less than 24 hours after release. Automotive News reported that users of the updated beta were getting false collision warnings and “other issues.”
Elon Musk took to Twitter to announce some of the issues that Tesla discovered internally. “Regression in some left turns at traffic lights found by internal QA in 10.3,” Tweeted Musk on October 23rd. “Fix in work, probably releasing tomorrow.”
Musk then followed up that tweet with another confirming the rollback of the Tesla Full Self Driving Beta update. “Seeing some issues with 10.3, so rolling back to 10.2 temporarily,” said Musk. “Please note, this is to be expected with beta software. It is impossible to test all hardware configs in all conditions with internal QA, hence public beta.”
In the very early hours of October 25th, 2021, Musk announced that Tesla Full Self Driving Beta version 10.3.1 was “rolling out now.”
What was wrong with version 10.3 of Tesla’s self-driving software?
According to the report in Automotive News, users who had version 10.3 of the Tesla Full Self Driving Beta were constantly getting forward-collision warnings when there were no hazards in front of their cars. Some other users uploaded videos to social media of their cars stopping for no reason.
It is not easy to imagine why having issues like that could potentially result in dangerous situations. If a driver got a sudden warning of a forward collision and performed an emergency stop, they could risk getting rear-ended by another vehicle.
The same scenario could occur if the vehicle stopped in a busy intersection or highway for no apparent reason. Wisely, Tesla was proactive and rolled back the update before any accidents occurred.
Considering how quickly Tesla’s software engineers were able to send the update back out with improvements could mean that it was an easy fix or that Tesla went “all hands on deck” to push out a fix.
The government wants Tesla to recall vehicles using the Full Self Driving software
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has formally requested information about the Tesla Full Self Driving Beta program from the EV maker. Specifically, the NHTSA wants to know why Tesla did not file a recall for the over-the-air updates the automaker made to the Self Driving beta.
The NHTSA said that if Tesla does not respond to its request by November 1st, 2021, the EV maker could face fines of almost $115 million.
Recently Elon Musk was critical of U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for choosing MIT professor Missy Cummings as a safety adviser at the NHTSA. Musk publicly stated that Cummings is “extremely biased” against Tesla.
There have been several crashes involving Tesla vehicles lately in which authorities suspected that the semi-autonomous “Autopilot” feature may have been a factor. While Autopilot involvement has not been proven in any crash investigation, the incidents could explain why the NHTSA and the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) both have their eyes on Elon Musk’s auto company.
If the NHTSA or the NTSB has their way, Tesla’s beta test may end prematurely.