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Tesla (TSLA) falls as more attention is brought to Autopilot’s serious phantom braking issue

After opening strong in pre-market trading, Tesla’s stock (TSLA) fell this morning as more attention is brought to its serious phantom braking issue on Autopilot.

Back in November, Electrek released a report called ‘Tesla has a serious phantom braking problem in Autopilot.

It highlighted a significant increase in Tesla owners reporting dangerous phantom braking events on Autopilot.

Phantom braking is a term used to describe when an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) or a self-driving system applies the brakes for no good reason.

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

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

This issue is not new in Tesla’s Autopilot, but our report focused on Tesla drivers noticing an obvious increase in instances, which also showed in complaints to the NHTSA.

Our report made the rounds in a few other outlets, but it didn’t really go mainstream until now.

The Washington Post just posted a very similar report focusing on the NHTSA complaints, which they compiled in this chart:

Tesla’s stock (TSLA) dropped by more than 3% following the report this morning, after it was up more than 1% in pre-market trading.

In the report, NHTSA spokeswoman Lucia Sanchez said that they are talking with Tesla about the complaints:

“NHTSA is aware of complaints received about forward collision avoidance and is reviewing them through our risk-based evaluation process. This process includes discussions with the manufacturer, as well as reviewing additional data sources, including Early Warning Reporting data. If the data show that a risk may exist, NHTSA will act immediately.”

Tesla has not commented on the issue. Elon Musk did admit that one of the Full Self-Driving Beta updates had a real issue with phantom braking, but this particular problem is with the Autopilot suite of features and not the FSD Beta.

Many owners are still reporting having the same problematic phantom braking rate, but at least the complaint rate with NHTSA has reduced over the last two months.

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