Tesla will issue a software update to address issues the NHTSA has found
Not a Tesla App
The NHTSA has found several issues with Tesla's FSD Beta software that they found concerning. Tesla has agreed to voluntarily fix the issues outlined through a future FSD Beta update.
The recall notice posted to the NHTSA’s website says that Tesla’s FSD Beta software “allows a vehicle to exceed speed limits or travel through intersections in an unlawful or unpredictable manner [which] increases the risk of a crash.”
Tesla was notified of the issues identified by the NHTSA. The agency is primarily concerned about the “operational characteristics” of FSD Beta. During these scenarios, the NHTSA is concerned that FSD Beta “could potentially infringe upon local traffic laws or customs, which could increase the risk of a collision if the driver does not intervene.”
The Issues The NHTSA Found
The NHTSA outlined the four issues below that they would like Tesla to address. Some of these have been long-standing issues and owners may be happy to hear they're being addressed.
Traveling or turning through certain intersections during a stale yellow traffic light;
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;
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
Negotiating a lane change out of certain turn-only lanes to continue traveling straight.
Meetings with Tesla
Tesla met with the NHTSA a number of times over the last two weeks to discuss solutions. Despite disagreeing with the NHTSA’s analysis, they’ve issued a voluntary recall and will provide a software update to remedy the issues identified.
According to Protect My Car, “a voluntary recall happens when the manufacturer is made aware of an issue that poses a safety risk.” The manufacturer will typically issue them to remove their liability. “These recalls never expire and the free car repair will be made no matter how old the vehicle is, how many miles it has, or how many owners have had the vehicle,” per Protect My Car.
NHTSA Investigates Tesla
The NHTSA has been investigating Tesla over its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Beta software. Last summer, the regulatory agency requested more information from Tesla about their “phantom braking” complaints. Shortly after, they upgraded the investigation to an “Engineering Analysis” after a few reports of vehicles with Autopilot engaged crashed into stopped emergency vehicles.
“The investigation will assess the technologies and methods used to monitor, assist, and enforce the driver’s engagement with the dynamic driving task during Autopilot operation,” the NHTSA said at the time.
Although not directly aimed at Tesla, the NHTSA also recently launched an investigation as to whether hybrid-electric and electric vehicles from 1997 to present should have external speakers installed for pedestrian safety. In July 2022, the NHTSA received a petition that urged them to require all hybrid-electric and electric vehicles to have external noisemakers installed.
“The petitioner asserts that hybrid and electric vehicles to which the standard does not apply should be found to contain a safety defect. In support of the petition, the petitioner includes findings contained in a bill introduced in the House of Representatives in 2009, the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, H.R. 734, 111th CONG. (2009).”
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Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3
If you look up ambient lights for Tesla, you'll see several ads for third-party light kits. Perhaps this is why Tesla added its own Ambient Lights feature to the new Model 3. So, let's get enlightened.
Tesla's ambient lights are thin light strips that are embedded in each of the vehicle's doors near the top edge. It also curves around the dashboard near the windshield, giving passengers a near 360-degree light effect.
Tesla new ambient light feature is available on the new Model 3 (2024+), and will be available on the Cybertruck in a similar manner. With a refresh ongoing for the Model Y, known as Juniper, it will likely also have ambient lights. That just leaves out the most luxurious flagship vehicles, the Model S and X, for now.
The Model S and Model X could be due for a minor refresh that would not only add ambient lighting, but also include a front-bumper camera that the Cybertruck has and the new Model 3 is expected to have in the near future.
Tesla introduced a wrap-around ambient lighting strip to its new Model 3
The ambient light settings allow you to light up the interior in a color that reflects your mood or preference. Under Controls > Lights > Accent Lights, you are handed the freedom to choose virtually any color to adorn the interior of your Tesla.
You have control over whether the ambient lights are on, off, or set to an "Auto" setting, though not fully clarified, seems to promise intelligent lighting adjustments akin to our control over dome lights, offering a reduction in reflections during drives.
While the ability to control the brightness level seems missing, Tesla did include color presets, letting you curate a series of your favorite colors.
It should be noted that the changes are confined to the light strips on the doors and dash, steering clear of the footwell lights and other interior lighting.
With Tesla, we can be assured there will be enhancements to this feature in a future update. In fact, the Tesla community is already busy coming up with useful suggestions. Some owners thought Tesla should take advantage of the lighting to provide driver feedback, such as automatically changing the ambient lighting to a red hue when there's a vehicle in your blind spot. Tesla could also glow the light strip on a door if it's not closed properly, or use the lighting to provide feedback when Sentry Mode is enabled.
Other uses could be more fun, such as cycling the light through various colors when the 'Rainbow Road' easter egg is activated.
Ambient Lighting in Action
While the possibilities are endless and Tesla engineers will surely have fun coming up with creative uses for the feature, the biggest improvement we can hope for in the near future is the ability to adjust the light intensity.
Tesla's new Model 3 received a host of exterior and interior upgrades
Tesla outdid itself with the refreshed Model 3, known as the Highland. Despite all the fantastic upgrades, something is missing - the Performance version or perhaps the Plaid. The letter "T" has shown up on vehicle certificates in Europe, and despite Elon Musk's sense of humor, it is unlikely this is a Mr. T reference.
Deciphering the 'T'
A new document shows the new Model 3 Performance will have a dual motor
eivissacopter / X
Diligent scrutiny of the European Type Certificate, issued by the Dutch vehicle authority RDW and shared on the TFF Forum, revealed a subtle yet pivotal alteration — including the letter 'T' in the eighth digit of the Model 3 Performance's VIN.
This seemingly minor detail, indicative of the vehicle's motor/drive unit type, sparked curiosity and speculation on the forum. Could it be a tri-motor setup to usher in a new Plaid version of the Model 3? This vehicle has already got endless amounts of zip, but three motors? May The Schwartz Be With You!
This could also explain the Model 3+ badging that was spotted during the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in China inspection of the refresh. However, the regulatory filings highlighted just two distinct variants of the car: a rear-wheel drive (RWD) with a 194 kW motor and an all-wheel drive (AWD) dual-motor setup that combines to deliver a formidable 331 kW of maximum power.
Initial conjectures leaned towards the possibility of a tri-motor setup, drawing parallels with the Plaid variants of the Model S and Model X. However, a deeper dive into the certification document clarified that the Model 3 Performance retained its Dual Motor setup, dispelling the possibility of a tri-motor upgrade.
Strategic Enhancements: A Glimpse into Potential Upgrades
Given the documented specifications, it becomes plausible that Tesla has strategically enhanced one of the dual motors, potentially aligning it with the advanced motor found in the Model S/X Plaid. This modification is poised to augment the top-end speed and acceleration of the Model 3 Performance, addressing its comparative limitations in extended races against traditional gas-powered supercars.
Meanwhile, the Model 3 refresh has become the new Bigfoot of the roads of North America, with rare sightings posted on social media. However, it appears the continent is excluded from the initial launch of the Model 3 Highland. Internal communications within Tesla suggest North American enthusiasts might have to exercise patience until 2024.
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