NHTSA is discussing faulty Autopilot cameras with Tesla

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Tesla Model 3

Source: Tesla

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Thursday that it is communicating with Tesla regarding faulty Autopilot cameras in some of the electric vehicles the company produced in Fremont, California.

As CNBC reported on Monday, Tesla is replacing repeater cameras in some of its U.S.-made vehicles after finding faulty printed circuit boards inside. The company has not issued a voluntary recall thus far but is handling replacements on a goodwill basis for eligible customers.

The repeater cameras are positioned in the front fenders of Tesla vehicles in front of the side view mirrors. When the cameras are not working properly, drivers may see a blank or choppy video feed on their car’s center display, lose visibility into their vehicle’s blind spots, or get alerts that Tesla Autopilot function is limited.

Autopilot is Tesla’s brand name for its standard, driver assistance system. The system does not makes its cars driverless.

While Elon Musk’s electric vehicle maker has not yet issued a voluntary recall on the cameras, it authorized service employees to replace faulty units for eligible owners on a goodwill basis — that is, on the company’s dime.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment earlier this week and again on Thursday.

Here’s the full statement a NHTSA spokesperson sent to CNBC:

NHTSA is aware of the issue and has been discussing it with the manufacturer. Additionally, NHTSA is monitoring all data sources, including Early Warning Reports and consumer complaints. 

The Vehicle Safety Act prohibits manufacturers from selling vehicles with design defects posing unreasonable risks to safety.  NHTSA is empowered with robust enforcement tools to protect the public, to investigate potential safety issues, and act when we find evidence of noncompliance or an unreasonable risk to safety. 

We urge the public to let NHTSA know if they think their vehicle may have a safety defect that isn’t part of a current recall. They can contact NHTSA online or call the agency’s Vehicle Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

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