An internal display issue that has been identified by the NHTSA may force Tesla to initiate a recall for several Model S and Model X vehicles.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has requested that Tesla recall some of its Model S and Model X vehicles. This is due to an internal display issue that can result in loss of the rearview camera feed and other safety features. If the issue does result in a recall from Tesla, it will not be the first time.
The Model X and Model Y were subject to suspension issues that in some cases caused the wheel to detach from the car completely — a very serious issue that caused many owners to feel concerned for their safety. Along with this, Tesla has come under fire in the past for issues relating to its full-self driving feature, including an accident that caused many to question the future of AI-assisted driving. The company has been also placed under scrutiny for less life-threatening issues, such as the quality of its tires.
This latest issue brings forth a problem identified by the NHTSA that has to do with the internal display in both the Model S and Model X. The issue has caused the media control unit (MCU) display inside the car to go out. This means losing the video feeds of the rearview camera or lane watch camera while driving. It’s a serious safety issue that could result in an accident and puts both the driver and other road users in danger.
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When investigating why the MCU seemed to be experiencing failure it was discovered that the Tesla models experiencing the problem were equipped with an NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor integrated with an 8GB eMMc NAND flash memory device. This flash memory performs Program-Erase cycles and after subjecting itself to around 3,000 P/E cycles the device becomes obsolete. In turn, this causes the MCU display to go out resulting in many issues for the vehicle. While the most dangerous problem is the aforementioned loss of rearview and lane watch cameras, it could also result in the loss of interior visual and sound indications for turn signals, driver sensing, as well as vehicle alerts such as remaining charge levels and tire pressure.
Luckily the problem has been pinpointed to select Model S vehicles manufactured from 2012- 2018 and Model X vehicles manufactured from 2016-2018. While this is a large number of vehicles from both model lines, newer models are not experiencing the issue. The flash memory device can be replaced, however, Tesla has yet to indicate whether this will spark a recall. This means the repair cost would come out of the customer’s pocket. Given that the expected life of the flash memory unit is between 5-6 years many owners of the earlier models may be coming up on the need for replacements very soon.
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