The Boombox feature allows owners to play sounds on the outside of the vehicle while the summon feature is active
The NHTSA requires electric vehicles to make a recognisable noise to alert pedestrians
Elon Musk reacted by saying the NHTSA is “The fun police”
Tesla is forced to recall nearly 600,000 vehicles due to the boombox feature being non-compliant with the NHTSA’s rules for the second time.
The boombox feature allows drivers to play sounds or music on a speaker outside the car. This is not a problem when the car is stationary, but it is illegal if it is moving.
The first recall was made to prevent the feature from working when the vehicle is in Drive, Reverse or Neutral, but it didn’t stop the sounds from playing when the summon feature is activated.
Summon is the system that allows Tesla vehicles to navigate a parking lot autonomously from their parking space to their owner so that they don’t have to walk up to their car.
This is illegal because the NHTSA requires electric vehicles to make a distinctive noise when they are moving to alert pedestrians, since they don’t have a gasoline engine to provide an auditory clue. This is especially important when there are no drivers inside, since passers-by would not expect an empty car to move on its own.
The problem is that the boombox feature could interfere with the effectiveness of the standard warning noise by allowing owners to choose noises that could confuse pedestrians.
No accidents have been reported due to this issue and the recall will only consist of a free over-the-air update that will deactivate the boombox feature while the vehicle is being summoned.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the NHTSA was the “fun police” because they prevent owners from using the boombox anytime they want.