Tesla’s EV safety recall highlights OTA update capabilities

A load of Tesla Model Y EVs were recalled for safety reasons, but the company’s available to update over-the-air shows how far digital technology has come

Now, out of all of the disbelievers in electrification out there, I wonder how many of them would benefit from the low maintenance capabilities displayed by Tesla

While it’s not the most convenient news for the electric vehicle (EV) giant, it certainly shows just how far technology has progressed—alleviating the physical recall of more than 360,000 vehicles. 

Nobody can hate on Tesla for its progress as a pure-play EV manufacturer, and it’s a shame to hear of regulatory concerns involving its cars. But for the global automotive brand, this is merely a blip in the technology development process as the company looks to remedy the issue as fast as possible. 

Safety concerns surrounding Tesla’s self-driving software 

If you’re not yet familiar with how over-the-air (OTA) updates work for cars, then all you need to know is that they could save both Tesla and its customers the headache of returning their vehicles to the company for critical maintenance. 

According to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall notice, “the FSD Beta system may allow the vehicle to act unsafe around intersections, such as travelling straight through an intersection while in a turn-only lane, entering a stop sign-controlled intersection without coming to a complete stop, or proceeding into an intersection during a steady yellow traffic signal without due caution.” 

Following this notice and taking the safety of its drivers with the utmost importance, the company agreed to ‘recall’ its cars, which doesn’t refer to the historical process of bringing cars back to the shop. As OTA updates allow organisations to develop their vehicles without disrupting their movements, Tesla will issue an update via the cloud to all of its affected vehicles to remedy the concerns of the regulatory body. 

The NHTSA says: “Tesla will deploy an OTA update at no cost to the customer. The OTA update, which we expect to deploy in the coming weeks, will improve how full self-driving (FSD) Beta negotiates certain driving manoeuvres.” 

Simplifying the maintenance process with OTA updates

EVs are not perfect. Like all automobiles, they have their flaws and with digital technology at the heart of each one, the processes are now different when it comes to performing maintenance procedures. The absence of an engine means the majority of processes involve software, which automotive companies, like Tesla, are mastering the art of OTA updates.

Witnessing this first hand, there are roughly 360,000 Tesla customers that will experience this and won’t have to go out of their way to drop off their cars. Depending on how long the updates take, they may be restricted when using the Tesla Model Y, but the event really highlights how simple it can be for EV drivers. 

The irony of the situation is that the Tesla Model Y received the What Car? 2023 Car of the Year Safety Award, which, with some work from its engineers, will hopefully remain the case as all vehicles are brought up to speed.