NHTSA is looking into Tesla's sudden braking issue
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is probing Tesla for its “phantom braking” issue, which has raised numerous concerns amongst drivers. The agency is requesting the automaker respond by June 20.
The NHTSA has received 758 reports on the phantom braking issue, according to Reuters. A report from the NHTSA back in February stated, “complainants report that the rapid deceleration can occur without warning, at random, and often repeatedly in a single drive cycle.”
“Phantom braking” is when Autopilot is engaged and the vehicle slows down suddenly. The issue is particularly concerning on freeways where there may be little to no time for other drivers to react safely. It has raised concern for the drivers because it’s unpredictable.
The phantom braking issues have been around for several years. The issues started when Teslas were having accidents with tractor trailers crossing in front of them. Additionally, it happens more frequently at underpasses or when there are shadows on the road, which can be mistaken for the side of a truck.
This probe into Tesla’s Autopilot system comes after numerous complaints from Tesla owners, and Tesla dismissing the complaints.
According to Reuters, a Model Y owner reported to the NHTSA that the vehicle slowed down from 80mph to 69mph in less than a second.
“The car braked hard and decelerated from 80 mph to 69 mph in less than a second,” the owner wrote. “The braking was so violent, my head snapped forward and I almost lost control of the car.”
In May 2021, Elon Musk stated that removing the radar sensor would solve the “phantom braking” issue.
We anticipate Tesla will respond and explain what the cause of the issue is. Depending on the NHTSA’s ideal solution, Tesla may need to take the phantom braking issue more seriously and focus on fixing or minimizing the sudden braking through an OTA update.
This could potentially be done by using the data that Tesla has already gathered from its fleet, identifying when and where phantom braking happens most frequently, and then allowing the software to dictate whether it should use the brakes.
Personally, I have noticed my Model 3 braking for road signs that flash orange above the interstate. For example, a sign may have orange flashing lights to indicate that ice may be on the bridge. I’ve also noticed this when traffic lights are controlling the flow into an interstate from the on ramp in California. These instances, however, are more predictable and not as abrupt or sudden.
Tesla reveals how many miles have been driven on FSD Beta as of January 2023
Tesla's Full Self Driving (FSD) technology took a giant leap forward in distributing FSD Beta to 400,000 customers in North America. It is a significant milestone for the development of autonomous driving and highlights Tesla's commitment to bringing this cutting-edge technology to the masses. A new version, v11.3 could roll out any day.
Number of Testers Over Time
Tesla made FSD Beta public a little more than two years ago, around October 2020. It was initially only made available to less than a handful of testers, but that pool grew to about 1,000 users later that year.
Since then Tesla has gradually increased the number of testers. The ramp from the initial 1,000 testers took some time, but by October 2021 Tesla had opened it up further through its Safety Score program. By January 2022, it was available to about 60,000 owners.
In March of 2022, Tesla expanded FSD Beta to Canada, gradually adding additional testers, and eventually increasing the number of testers across the U.S. and Canada to 160,000 in September.
Tesla announced this December that the number of testers had grown to 285,000 and recently said this January that it's now accessible to 400,000 Tesla owners.
FSD Beta Expansion and Milestones
Opened to select testers
~ 1,000 added
Start of expansion through Safety Score
Available to 60,000 testers
Expansion to Canada
Available to 160,000 testers
Available to 285,000 testers
Access given to 400,000 owners
The deployment of FSD Beta to such a large number of customers will provide an unprecedented level of testing and feedback, allowing Tesla to refine the technology and bring it to an even higher level of reliability and safety. Furthermore, with over 90 million miles driven on FSD outside of highways, the published data shows a clear improvement in safety statistics, demonstrating the potential for autonomous driving to revolutionize the way we travel.
This increased testing level will help improve the technology even further, as the system can learn from a broader range of driving scenarios and road conditions.
FSD Will Make the Roads Safer
The safety benefits of Full Self Driving technology will be a major selling point for Tesla and one of the primary reasons for its rapid growth. Using cameras and other advanced technologies, FSD can monitor the road and make real-time adjustments to ensure the vehicle operates safely and efficiently. As a result, this technology reduces the likelihood of accidents and provides passengers with a safer, more comfortable driving experience.
Overall, making FSD Beta available to 400,000 customers represents a major step forward for Tesla and the entire autonomous driving industry. It's now available to all customers who have purchased or subscribed to FSD in the U.S. and Canada. The next big expansion is expected to be in Europe sometime this year.
With its focus on safety and reliability, Tesla is leading the way toward a future where driving is fully autonomous, and accidents are a thing of the past. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more impressive advances in the coming years, bringing us closer to a world where autonomous vehicles are a common sight on our roads.
The Ctrl-Bar adds physical buttons to the Model 3/Y
Tesla's minimalistic interior design is both loved and hated. Much loathing is due to the lack of physical buttons drivers are so used to having at their fingertips to control heat, music and everything else in the cabin. The sleek look is attractive, but for some it can fall short in easy accessibility while driving.
That's where a new product comes into play: Ctrl-Bar. Created by Øyvind Husby of Oslo, Norway, Ctrl-Bar has nearly 300 backers on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo and has beat its target funding goal by more than 280 percent. The objective is to provide a tactile, programmable solution to Tesla's minimalistic interior design.
How It Works
Ctrl-Bar is a device that attaches securely to the bottom of the Model 3 and Model Y screen and offers a quick-access, tactile response that physical buttons can only achieve. The premium black glass finish blends seamlessly with the screen bezel, providing a smooth look. It connects to a smartphone using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and gets power from a hidden USB cable connected to the rear center console USB port. The app runs in the background, capturing only the data needed to run the services and prioritizing privacy. In addition, the Ctrl-Bar screen shows real-time changes, so there is no latency when changing temperatures or other functions. After less than a second, the device will send the command to your vehicle.
The Scrolls, Buttons and Extras
The Ctrl-Bar has two scroll wheels with tactile indents to control the cabin temperature, one for the driver and the passenger. In addition, four push buttons are in the middle of the wheels to provide easy access to programmable shortcuts, such as seat heaters, defrost mode, dog mode, and more. All changes made on the Ctrl-Bar are reflected on the center screen, offering a unified experience.
In addition to controlling essential functions, Ctrl-Bar also provides ambient LED lighting. The device has a series of powerful LEDs that illuminate the center console and front footwells. Users can scroll through assorted color and brightness options to find the perfect lighting for their drive. For an additional subscription, Ctrl-Bar offers speed trap warnings. The device checks for nearby fixed speed traps and visually alerts the driver when they are approaching. If the driver exceeds the speed limit, Ctrl-Bar will give an audible warning reminding them to slow down.
The Ctrl-Bar adds physical buttons to the Model 3/Y
Creative Company with a Track Record
Greenmission, the company behind Ctrl-Bar, has successfully launched a premium wireless charger for the Tesla Model S/X. With trusted manufacturers and software developers on board, the main obstacles to getting Ctrl-Bar into the hands of Tesla owners are developing the phone app, establishing a reliable connection, avoiding supplier issues and delays, and managing costs. Despite these challenges, Greenmission is confident they can bring Ctrl-Bar to market and provide a much-needed solution to the lack of physical buttons in Tesla vehicles.
Ctrl-Bar is an interesting device that adds some physical buttons for owners who want or need them. It matches well with the interior of the vehicle and still provides a sleek look. However, it will require your phone to have a cellular connection to successfully send commands to the vehicle, since it relies on Tesla's APIs.
Tesla drivers are always looking for ways to improve their experience, and new features will be made available through Over-The-Air updates. Furthermore, users' feedback and suggestions will be considered and worked on in future updates.
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