NHTSA issues a safety recall on nearly 54,000 Teslas over 'rolling-stop' functionality

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,491   +1,040
Staff member
Facepalm: A limited number of Tesla vehicles are the subject of a recent NHTSA safety recall. Apparently, Tesla thought it would be a great idea to include a feature in its self-driving software that allows the car to perform a California stop. It's a maneuver that is prohibited by all 50 states.

On Monday, Tesla issued a safety recall for 53,822 vehicles covering all models equipped with "full-self-driving" (FSD) software. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warned the company that changes to the software that added operational profiles to the FSD feature could cause the car to not stop at stop signs, increasing the risk of a collision.

Tesla added driving profiles to its beta self-driving software back in October. The update included the option to choose from three different driving profiles with more or less self-explanatory names—"Chill," "Average," "Assertive." According to the NHTSA, the feature only went live within a "limited early access FSD Beta population."

It is the Assertive option that is causing the problem. When acting autonomously and set to this profile, the car will drive more aggressively, including making more frequent lane changes, riding the passing lane, and performing rolling stops. A rolling stop (also called a "California stop") is where the driver slows the vehicle at a stop sign without coming to a complete stop.

"Failing to stop at a stop sign can increase the risk of a crash," says the NHTSA.

The software does make several checks before allowing a rolling stop. First, it has to be enabled in the profile settings. The intersection must be an all-way stop and in an area where the speed limit both ways is 30mph or less. There cannot be any moving cars, pedestrians, or bicycles near the crossing. The sensors also have to have "sufficient" visibility while approaching the intersection. If any of these conditions are not met, the car will come to a complete stop.

Despite the amount of caution applied, California stops are illegal in all states, including California. If performed in the presence of a police officer, chances are high you will get pulled over, and unless he's in a good mood, you'll probably get a traffic citation. So why Tesla would even have this as an option in its software is a mystery.

Tesla has dealt with several recalls for varying reasons in the previous year. This last comes just after a widely publicized criticism alleging Tesla's self-driving software suffered a "critical malfunction" every eight seconds. It is unclear if the NHTSA's recall warning directly resulted from this criticism.

Tesla agreed with the NHTSA and will recall the vehicles voluntarily. However, since this is an issue with software only, customers do not have to take their cars in to be serviced. Tesla plans to issue an over-the-air update to all affected systems. It will send out notification letters to customers by March 28; however, it is unclear when Tesla will roll out the software update.

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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,308   +7,247
I've used Tesla's autopilot in the Model X and demonstrated its ability to stop for Red lights and resume.

I don't believe I ever tested its ability to stop for STOP signs. Of course, STOP signs are usually in heavily trafficked neighborhoods and the situation is usually so nuanced you're better off driving yourself.

There must be some bug that they need to work out of the Self Driving.

Blowing Stop signs is NOT a good look.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,887   +3,695
TechSpot Elite
Is it just me, or does the premise here sound ridiculous? I don't know ANYONE competent at driving who comes to a complete stop at a stop sign.

If anything, you can tell who isn't confident in their driving (usually old people) by how much time they waste at an empty 4 way stop...
 

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,491   +1,040
Staff member
There must be some bug that they need to work out of the Self Driving.

Blowing Stop signs is NOT a good look.
It was an intentionally added feature.
Is it just me, or does the premise here sound ridiculous? I don't know ANYONE competent at driving who comes to a complete stop at a stop sign.

If anything, you can tell who isn't confident in their driving (usually old people) by how much time they waste at an empty 4 way stop...
A cop and traffic court would disagree with you.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 18,722   +7,665
The software does make several checks before allowing a rolling stop. First, it has to be enabled in the profile settings. The intersection must be an all-way stop and in an area where the speed limit both ways is 30mph or less. There cannot be any moving cars, pedestrians, or bicycles near the crossing. The sensors also have to have "sufficient" visibility while approaching the intersection. If any of these conditions are not met, the car will come to a complete stop.
The average human driver can make all of these assessments in say, less than a second..

I'm telling you, this self driving bullsh!t is going to cause more problems than it solves.. Wait til your self driving car gets locked into driving at or below all posted speed limits.

I was out on I-476 recently, reading 80 mph on the clock of my bike. Guess what, all I was doing is keeping up with traffic.
 

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,491   +1,040
Staff member
The average human driver can make all of these assessments in say, less than a second..

I'm telling you, this self driving bullsh!t is going to cause more problems than it solves.. Wait til your self driving car gets locked into driving at or below all posted speed limits.

I was out on I-476 recently, reading 80 mph on the clock of my bike. Guess what, all I was doing is keeping up with traffic.
I was doing 80 in a 70 on I-35 just last weekend with cars ridding my @$$ and passing on the left and the right. And not even slowly passing. Doing 95+.
 

BadThad

Posts: 1,033   +1,186
I have a MUCH better idea! How about getting rid the stupid laws that require for a "full stop" in the absence of ANYTHING around? Police everywhere love enforcing this "technical pull-over", it's easy money and likely the only reason it exists. CHANGE THE LAW!
 

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,491   +1,040
Staff member
I have a MUCH better idea! How about getting rid the stupid laws that require for a "full stop" in the absence of ANYTHING around? Police everywhere love enforcing this "technical pull-over", it's easy money and likely the only reason it exists. CHANGE THE LAW!
the argument here would be that then you would have everyone competing to perform rolling stops and crashing into each other. You cannot give human beings the assumption of having common sense. They eat Tide Pods FFS. Like @hahahanoobs said: "Human intelligence peaked long ago."
 

BadThad

Posts: 1,033   +1,186
Is it just me, or does the premise here sound ridiculous? I don't know ANYONE competent at driving who comes to a complete stop at a stop sign.

If anything, you can tell who isn't confident in their driving (usually old people) by how much time they waste at an empty 4 way stop...

Amen to that! I think it only happens when some fool is in front of me and they seem to like sitting there for 5 seconds unnecessarily. Then they roll out like there's an egg between their foot and accelerator. It's no wonder road rage is so prevalent! I venture to say 90+% of Americans drive like $&%#!
 

brucek

Posts: 1,124   +1,666
I actually sympathize with Tesla that they really do need to consider not just how people are supposed to drive, but how they actually do drive.

For example, if all their cars actually drove exactly the speed limit and not the more typical +7 MPH over, that probably really would have unintended consequences on our roads and they might have safety implications.

Same here - if the fact is that "California stops" are currently common and current traffic is based on it - suddenly increasing the amount of time that large numbers of vehicles spend at intersections may not be consequence-free. And one day in the far future, Tesla may actually be able to prove their sensors have enough information to do this safely (I.e., a human may need more time to look around than a computer does.)

All that said, they're *****s if they think they can just unilaterally decide to do this and not experience some legal blowback.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 18,722   +7,665
All that said, they're *****s if they think they can just unilaterally decide to do this and not experience some legal blowback.
Well, Elon Musk does think he's, at the very least, a demigod.

So none of this comes as a surprise, much less front page news.

Tesla is selling a lot more cars these days, and they can expect a whole lot more concomitant scrutiny because of it.
 

psycros

Posts: 4,142   +5,768
Amen to that! I think it only happens when some fool is in front of me and they seem to like sitting there for 5 seconds unnecessarily. Then they roll out like there's an egg between their foot and accelerator. It's no wonder road rage is so prevalent! I venture to say 90+% of Americans drive like $&%#!

Seek professional help.
 

Angga B

Posts: 167   +138
Well, Elon Musk does think he's, at the very least, a demigod.

So none of this comes as a surprise, much less front page news.

Tesla is selling a lot more cars these days, and they can expect a whole lot more concomitant scrutiny because of it.
Hi Cranky, just asking, is your skepticism also applies to every other self-driving-vehicle... or...?

On topic, for me, nah. I don't trust human driving, which includes me, myself. My bodily sensoric appliances sometime betray me, my blazing fast calculating ability 200+IQ sometimes makes errors.

Much less to trust machines. So no, thank you. But I won't let stop people to have their own bitter experiences with them. That's how human always learned, through tragedies.
 

bravesgood

Posts: 31   +37
Amen to that! I think it only happens when some fool is in front of me and they seem to like sitting there for 5 seconds unnecessarily. Then they roll out like there's an egg between their foot and accelerator. It's no wonder road rage is so prevalent! I venture to say 90+% of Americans drive like $&%#!
You do realize not everyone on the road is in a hurry and always running late. You may also change your opinion about stop signs if you ever got T-boned from someone else blowing through the intersection. And then there are drivers like me; the more you tailgate me, the slower I drive.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 18,722   +7,665
Hi Cranky, just asking, is your skepticism also applies to every other self-driving-vehicle... or...?
Musky is pushing harder than most. He sees himself as the avante guarde of the technological world, a pioneer, a trendsetter You name it, he's at the forefront of it.

Yet, I will give him credit for the fact he hasn't claimed a 200 IQ yet.
 

Ravey

Posts: 350   +152
The average human driver can make all of these assessments in say, less than a second..

I'm telling you, this self driving bullsh!t is going to cause more problems than it solves.. Wait til your self driving car gets locked into driving at or below all posted speed limits.

I was out on I-476 recently, reading 80 mph on the clock of my bike. Guess what, all I was doing is keeping up with traffic.

I know motorway driving in the uk can be tricky at times. theres an unspoken rule that its best to keep driving with "the flow of traffic" so if vehicles are generally moving faster than 70mph it's best t keep up with them rather than slow down (within reason that is).

In fact, there has been instances where police will pull over drivers that are travelling too slowly, as they cause a hazard.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 18,722   +7,665
In fact, there has been instances where police will pull over drivers that are travelling too slowly, as they cause a hazard.
Many of our interstates, major highways, and turnpikes, have posted minimum speeds, which, if not observed, are ticket-able offenses.
 

dragosmp

Posts: 68   +74
I have a MUCH better idea! How about getting rid the stupid laws that require for a "full stop" in the absence of ANYTHING around? Police everywhere love enforcing this "technical pull-over", it's easy money and likely the only reason it exists. CHANGE THE LAW!
How about this - coming from an ex city planner. STOP signs must be place where there is NO visibility around the corner, otherwise planners must use Yield signs - why? Because if you can see there's no one coming, then you can of course pass in all safety. Now, the problem in my neighborhood exit, which is how I ended up in a discussion with my neighbor about this, it has a STOP sign, despite very good visibility. Of course no one actually stops - and this guy admitted whoever put a STOP instead of a Yield was wrong - cops also have a say, and can't help thinking someone wanted to create a situation where people brake the (stupid) rule and police occasionally come and fine people in order to pad the holiday budget - though between paranoia and stupidity the latter is usually the more likely.
Now is it right to roll stops everywhere? No of course, some places do have bad visibility, you can't see jack until the last foot, so there a real stop would be needed and useful.

*Edit cultural typos
 
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captaincranky

Posts: 18,722   +7,665
How about this - coming from an ex city planner. STOP signs must be place where there is NO visibility around the corner, otherwise planners must use Give Way signs - why?
Forgive my ignorance but WTF is a "give way" sign. Are you from the USA?
Here we have standardized signs that you don't have to be able to read, to recognize their purpose.

The closest thing we have to "give way", is "yield".

Never mind, here's the answer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yield_sign

You're probably from New Zealand
 
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captaincranky

Posts: 18,722   +7,665
Yield makes me think of money, learned something
"Yield" for me, has more of a medieval connotation. Sic: Sir knight if you do not yield, we shall settle this with lances or swords.

Funny story. Way back when the band "Genesis" released their first album here in the colonies, I couldn't understand a word of it. The Brit slang was so thick, you couldn't cut it with a diamond phonograph needle..

We Yanks also need "Waltzing Matilda" explained to us word for word as well.

We should also hash out why you Brits can't pronounce Rs, yet you tag them on every other word that doesn't end in them.

There were birds in the sky
US: But I never saw them winging
UK: But I never soar them winging <<< Huh?
 
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