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Invisible Hand: Tesla update causing faulty AEB responses, says NHTSA

Toronto, Ontario — No, your car isn’t full of ghosts, it’s just Tesla’s latest over-the-air update that is reportedly causing some vehicles’ automatic emergency braking system to trigger unexpectedly. Somehow that feels spookier than ghosts.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported on Monday that as many as 11,704 vehicles were subjected to false forward-collision warnings or automatic emergency braking events, following the release of the 2021.36.5.2 firmware update sent out on Oct. 23.

Tesla cancelled the update for vehicles that had not installed it, disabled the affected systems on those vehicles that did install it, and then reverted the software to the nearest available version, the automaker said in filing with the NHTSA. 

On Oct. 25, Tesla completed validation of the fix and deployed over-the-air (OTA) 2021.36.5.3, then re-enabled the safety systems on the updated vehicles.

Tesla expects mainly older models to have been negatively affected by the update, and that the following models will likely not require servicing and are good to run the update:

  • 2017-2021 Tesla Model S 
  • 2017-2021 Tesla Model X
  • 2017-2021 Tesla Model 3
  • 2020-2021 Tesla Model Y

As it stands, no crashes or injuries have yet been linked to the update, though Tesla will still have to mail out recall notifications to owners, by law, as early as Dec. 28. 

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