Tesla’s recall of 2 million vehicles to fix its Autopilot system uses technology that may not work

Tesla’s recall of more than 2 million of its electric vehicles — an effort to have drivers who use its Autopilot system pay closer attention to the road — relies on technology that research shows may not work as intended.

Tesla, the leading manufacturer of EVs, reluctantly agreed to the recall last week after a two-year investigation by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that Tesla’s system to monitor drivers was defective and required a fix.

The system sends alerts to drivers if it fails to detect torque from hands on the steering wheel, a system that experts describe as ineffective…

Phil Koopman, electrical and computer engineering, offers commentary in this story on how Tesla’s proposed software fix for its Autopilot may not work as intended. What’s needed, Koopman suggests, are interior-facing cameras in the vehicles that can monitor drivers’ eyes and warn them when they are not watching the road. The problem is that earlier Tesla models lack such cameras and the ones installed in later models don’t see well at night.

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