Tesla is under investigation yet again by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and this time, the organization is looking into reports related to the Model 3 and Model Y's unexpected braking concerns.
NHTSA has shared that the preliminary probe will investigate over 400,000 Model Y and Model 3 vehicles from the 2021 and 2022 model years. This comes after the administration has received a total of 354 complaints over the past nine months.
Phantom braking is essentially a made-up term for a car that's braking system is prone to overreacting or braking completely unexpectedly when the vehicle's advanced driver-assist systems are active. In Tesla's case, it applies to sudden and unnecessary braking associated with Autopilot and potentially Full Self-Driving Beta. The organization's Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) shared the following information:
“The Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has received 354 complaints alleging unexpected brake activation in 2021-2022 Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles. Received over the past nine months, the reports have often been characterized as ‘phantom braking’ by consumers. Tesla describes the subject vehicles as equipped with a suite of advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) features referred to as Autopilot which Tesla states will allow the vehicle to brake and steer automatically within its lanes."
NHTSA says that based on the information gleaned from the 354 complaints, the phantom braking occurs at random times, and there's no warning, which means it can startle the driver. Moreover, for various obvious reasons, if unnecessary braking happens at highway speeds, there's a chance it could be a safety issue.
Thus far, no crashes or injuries related to Tesla's phantom braking have been reported to NHTSA. The organization goes on to share that the complaints "allege that while utilizing the ADAS features including adaptive cruise control, the vehicle unexpectedly applies its brakes while driving at highway speeds."
Moreover, people posting the complaints noted that the cars can decelerate rapidly and with no warning. The issue can often occur multiple times at random during the same drive.
If you've been following Tesla news, you're likely well aware that the electric automaker has been under intense scrutiny by NHTSA over the past several months. Hopefully, Tesla can properly address all of the issues promptly, as well as ensure that there are fewer concerns going forward.