Thu. Jun 30th, 2022
Tesla

Regulators sound alarm over function that can play sounds over external speaker and obscure warnings for pedestrians

Associated Press

Thu 10 Feb 2022 14.10 GMT

Tesla is recalling nearly 579,000 vehicles in the US because a “Boombox” function can play sounds over an external speaker and obscure audible warnings for pedestrians.

The recall is the fourth made public in the last two weeks as US safety regulators increase scrutiny of the nation’s largest electric vehicle maker. In two of the recalls, Tesla made decisions that violate federal motor vehicle safety standards, while the others are software errors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says on its website on Thursday that the cars and SUVs have what Tesla calls a “Boombox” function that allows drivers to play sounds while the vehicles are moving. This violates federal safety standards that require pedestrian warning noises for electric cars, which make little noise when traveling, the agency says.

The agency says the problem will be repaired with an over-the-air software update that will disable “Boombox”, in drive, reverse or neutral.

“The Boombox functionality allows a customer to play preset or custom sounds through the PWS [pedestrian warning system] external speaker when the vehicle is parked or in motion,” the NHTSA says in documents posted on its website.

“While Boombox and the pedestrian alert sound are mutually exclusive sounds, sounds emitted using Boombox could be construed to obscure or prevent the PWS from complying” with safety standards, the agency wrote.

The recall covers certain 2020 through 2022 Tesla Model X, S, and Y vehicles, as well as 2017 through 2022 Model 3s, according to records.

A message was left on Thursday seeking comment from Tesla, which has disbanded its media relations department. The company is not aware of any crashes or injuries due to the problem, the NHTSA said.

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