Tesla has a serious phantom braking problem in Autopilot

Tesla is seeing a rise in complaints over serious and dangerous phantom braking events plaguing Autopilot in the newest software updates.

Phantom braking is a term used to explain when a sophisticated driver assist system (ADAS) or a self-driving system applies the brakes for no good reason.

The system will be falsely detecting an object on the road or anticipating a collision that won’t actually occur and apply the brake to attempt to avoid it.

Obviously, phantom braking is something you ought to avoid since it may well create accidents if someone is following too closely behind you.

For Tesla owners, it’s all the time been a part of Autopilot, however it has been manageable for essentially the most part. Events could be few and much between.

But things have been seemingly getting worse these days for a lot of Tesla owners.

Last month, Tesla briefly pulled a new edition of its Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta software after many testers reported constant phantom braking issues – an issue that CEO Elon Musk himself acknowledged.

FSD Beta is just being tested by a limited variety of Tesla owners, but now it’s clear that the phantom braking can also be becoming a major problem for Autopilot users.

Over the previous couple of weeks, Electrek received many reports from Tesla owners claiming to have experienced an unsual variety of phantom braking events.

Following up on the problem, we found that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has seen a major increase of complaints from Tesla owners regarding the identical phantom braking issue over the past month.

Certainly one of the recent NHTSA complaints reads:

“Upon accepting delivery at the tip of May now we have accrued 9,000 miles on the automotive and have a had horrible experiences with the traffic aware cruise control slamming on the brakes for no apparent reason with nothing ahead or passing cars. Behavior will be 5-10 mph slowdowns or in some cases FULL brake pressure which puts us at risk of being rear ended. Multiple times now we have been near rear-ended.”

The complaints are all very much like this one with drivers saying that their vehicles are having a major variety of phantom braking events on Autopilot.

Among the owners said that they reached out to Tesla regarding the problem, but they were told that it’s as a result of “software evolving”:

“While driving using cruise control the vehicle will occasionally brake suddenly for unknown reasons. In a single instance I used to be fearful that the automotive following me would either hit my automotive or be forced to take other motion possibly causing an accident. After I contacted Tesla regarding my concern they said something in regards to the software program evolving…no fix available.”

The uptick in complaints appears to start out across the time that Tesla transitioned to its vision-based Autopilot and dropped the usage of the radar.

That began in May 2021, but there’s also a good more significant increase in complaints over the previous couple of weeks.

Electrek‘s take

I even have also been experiencing this phantom braking problem personally on my Model 3 recently.

I’m an avid Tesla Autopilot user and phantom braking has all the time been something to look at out for. It could occur every from time to time, but not steadily.

To me, it was just yet another reason to watch out and all the time be being attentive when using the system.

But following the 2021.40 software update that I received on my Tesla Model 3 last week, I’m seeing a major increase in phantom braking events. I’m getting several of them per drive. As many as one every 10 km on Autopilot.

It’s very much like what’s described by the opposite owners above.

Sometimes it’s a wierd deceleration for no reason and other times the automotive applies the brakes abruptly for no good reason.

An interesting example that I noted last week was once I auto lane modified to the left lane on the highway because I saw a automotive coming up on the ramp that was going to merge across the time I used to be passing the ramp.

I used to be driving on Autopilot and let it move to the left lane to let the automotive merge, which it did without issue, but as I used to be passing it, Autopilot decided to slam on the brake as if the automotive was each merging and changing lanes to the left, which it wasn’t.

Luckily, there was no automotive behind me and I used to be in a position to fight back against the braking event quickly, however it was scary.

I talked with other Tesla owners on the newest updates, and it appears that evidently some are having the identical issues while others aren’t.

There’s undeniably a major uptick in phantom braking events, however it doesn’t appear to be affecting all cars the identical way.

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