Tesla says it’s updating self-driving cars so they don’t break the law anymore

(ORDO NEWS) — Tesla agreed to update the software on nearly 54,000 of its vehicles because a recent “Full Self-Driving” software update allowed them to break traffic rules and drive through stop signs without coming to a complete stop.

It’s the latest sign that regulators are becoming increasingly fed up with the Elon Musk-led company’s attempts to automate – but not fully automate, as the feature’s misleading name suggests – driving on public roads.

Tesla agreed to the recall after two meetings with representatives from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to the Associated Press.

“After discussing our concerns with NHTSA, Tesla informed the agency that it will be retiring the ‘Rolling Stop’ feature as part of its Driving Profile functionality in its Full Self Driving software,” NHTSA said in a statement to The Verge. With a new software update, the “Rolling Stop” function will no longer be possible.”

There’s plenty of evidence that the company’s FSD beta, which is currently being tested by select customers on public roads, isn’t quite ready for prime time. Several videos show cars with the feature turned on in the direction of pedestrians.

Tesla recently introduced an “Assertive” mode to its FSD software that, according to the official documentation, “changes lanes more often, doesn’t cross into the oncoming lane, and can perform a coast-to-stop.”

According to NHTSA documents, the feature allowed cars to pass stop signs at “up to 5.6 mph” when a certain number of criteria were met – including no other “moving vehicles”, pedestrians or cyclists nearby.

Road safety advocates were appalled.

“What happens if the FSD decides that a child crossing the street doesn’t ‘make a difference’ and doesn’t stop?” Philip Koopman, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, told the AP. “This is unsafe behavior and should never have been installed in cars.”

Regulators, including the NHTSA, are increasingly wary of Tesla and its “self-driving” features – and the recall could point to future interventions.

“They keep pushing the boundaries of security to see what they can get away with, and they’re really pushing a lot,” Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Security Association, told AP. “Every time it gets more egregious. It’s good to see the NHTSA fighting back.”

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