Teslas seem to be inexplicably slamming on their brakes, and it’s starting to scare owners. Over 100 of them have filed complaints with the federal government in the last three months alone, according to The Washington Post. Only 34 complaints had been filed with the NHTSA in the preceding 22 months.
It has, however, been an ongoing issue for the automaker. In October 2021, Tesla CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter the company was forced to “roll back” version 10.3 of its Full Self-Driving beta software because of issues with forward collision warnings and phantom braking.
Since then the number of complaints have spiked.
“Using adaptive cruise control with autopilot steering (as well as without Autosteer), multiple episodes of severe ‘phantom breaking [sic]’ where the car slams on the breaks [sic] for no apparent reason,” a Model Y owner from Sterling, Ill., wrote in a November 16th complaint. “No other cars around. Flat, clear open freeway.”
Another Model Y owner, who reported installing FSD in October of last year, said they “immediately” experienced issues with Autopilot and Traffic-Aware Cruise Control after the update was installed. The complaint also said the owner dealt with “spurious forward collision warnings.”
“These warnings involved the standard warning beeps and red indicators on the driving display, and at one point included an unnecessary emergency braking incident when no obstacle was in front of me,” they wrote. “As such, I had reverted to driving the car in manual mode, not on autopilot.
One guys wife doesn’t want the system used in the car at all when she’s in it.
“My wife has requested that I don’t use cruise control or autopilot while she’s in the car, as we experienced an unwarranted, aggressive automatic braking episode which caused great pressure against her pregnant belly on a previous road trip,” one driver said in their report.
There are dozens of other complaints similar to these three.
The problem could possibly be traced back to a controversial decision last year to remove radar sensors from new Model 3 and Model Y vehicles. The decision came at the whim of Musk, who publicly said he wanted to rely solely on cameras to power the vehicles’ advanced driver assistance program.
Tesla has drawn security from safety advocates and regulators for its willingness to allow customers to essentially be beta testers for his products.
A spokesperson for the NHTSA said the agency was aware of the complaints over phantom braking in Teslas. In a statement they said they’re reviewing them and will have discussions down the road with Tesla. However, if they see any serious risk during their review, they will act immediately.
This is just the latest instance of issues with Tesla’s Full Self-Driving software. Earlier this week, the company was forced to recall tens of thousands of vehicles over not coming to a full stop at traffic lights. It was a move no one found controversial at all.