Last June 2021, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) said that automotive giant Tesla would recall over 200,000 of its Model 3 and Model Y cars in China. This was because the models have a software glitch that could enable passengers to accidentally activate autopilot.
“The recall is being carried out as a result of a defect investigation initiated by the State Administration for Market Regulation," the SAMR explained.
However, the recall is not traditional in a sense—customers won’t have to return their purchased Teslas for a refund or upgrade. The glitch would most likely be patched remotely through an update that the SAMR said Tesia is rolling out free of charge. But if some vehicles can’t be patched remotely, users may have to drive them to a dealership.
This isn’t the first time the automotive giant has to fix glitches that affected its autonomous vehicles.
In January 2021, the US’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asked Tesla to recall more than 100,000 of its Model S and Model X due to touchscreen failures. Last December 2020, the non-profit group Consumer Watchdog even called Tesla "the world’s most hackable car”.
According to the organization's report, despite the company’s claim about the security of connected cars, a hacker accessed Tesla’s fleet and remotely accessed the safety-critical system of every car.
The safety glitches and security issues faced by advanced vehicles are not exclusive to Tesla, however. Recently, Porsche AG will reportedly issue a recall of its all-electric Taycan vehicle to fix a software issue related to drivers suddenly experiencing loss of power, according to a Bloomberg report.
Issues like this proved the importance of constant software and security updates to ensure the safety of autonomous vehicles and their users. As vehicles become more and more dependent on software, the management of software defects and vulnerabilities become more vital than ever.
The ISO/SAE 21434, the international standard for cybersecurity of connected cars, including OTA, provides a good reference for formulating correspondence. These standards, along with robust connected car cybersecurity, can help manufacturers make their vehicles safer and more secure for consumers and society.
To learn more about connected car security, click here.