US ends Tesla cars' rear-view camera investigation after 2021 recall

  • Tesla agreed to the recall to address touchscreen failures under pressure from NHTSA after the agency sought a callback in a formal letter.
Tesla Model 3
Tesla agreed to the recall to address touchscreen failures under pressure from NHTSA after the agency sought a callback in a formal letter. (REUTERS)
Tesla Model 3
Tesla agreed to the recall to address touchscreen failures under pressure from NHTSA after the agency sought a callback in a formal letter.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Friday it has closed a long-running investigation into the loss of rear-view camera images in nearly 160,000 of Tesla's Model X and Model S vehicles.

The auto safety regulator said Tesla's 2021 recall of almost 135,000 vehicles appears to address the risk presented by the failure of a media control unit and will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the callback.

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Tesla agreed to the recall to address touchscreen failures under pressure from NHTSA after the agency sought a callback in a formal letter. Automakers usually agree to voluntary fixes before the auto safety agency formally seeks a recall.

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The agency said touchscreen failures posed significant safety issues, including the loss of rearview or backup camera images, exterior turn-signal lighting, and windshield defogging and defrosting systems that "may decrease the driver’s visibility in inclement weather."

NHTSA said Friday the failure also impacts the Autopilot advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) and turn signal functionality due to the potential loss of audible chimes, driver sensing, and alerts.

The agency last week opened a separate probe into Tesla's recall of 2 million vehicles in December to boost Autopilot safeguards.

NHTSA first opened a probe in June 2020 into complaints that media control unit (MCU) failures led to touchscreen displays not working.

NHTSA initially sought a recall of 158,000 vehicles but the recall did not include some vehicles with upgraded processors built after March 2018.

NHTSA said Friday that the MCU has a finite lifespan and "believes that a 5- or 6-year life expectancy for a component integral to providing the driver with safety functions is insufficient."

Tesla said all units will inevitably fail given the memory device's finite storage capacity, the agency said. Tesla said in February that about 104,000 of the 135,000 vehicles recalled have been repaired.

The company had last month recalled 3,878 Cybertrucks to fix an accelerator pedal pad that could come loose and get lodged in the interior trim.

First Published Date: 06 May 2024, 06:40 AM IST
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