Some Tesla drivers say they're experiencing an increase in "phantom braking," in which their cars make random, jolting stops because they misinterpret hazards like trash on the road, trucks in nearby lanes and oncoming traffic on two-lane roads. 107 Tesla drivers have filed complaints with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the past three months, according to federal data reviewed by The Washington Post. Only 34 complaints had been filed in the preceding 22 months.
“My wife has requested that I don’t use cruise control or autopilot while she’s in the car, as we experienced an unwarranted, aggressive automatic braking episode which caused great pressure against her pregnant belly on a previous road trip,” one driver said in their report.
Tesla's Full Self-Driving tech has continued to be controversial and occasionally problematic, even as Elon Musk has touted the tech's features and potential. Tesla recalled one iteration of the software in October after a surge in this so-called “phantom braking.” According to the Post, complaints have stayed elevated since the recall.
Tesla also recalled 54,000 vehicles this week because a more aggressive Full Self-Driving mode allowed vehicles to roll through stop signs. The feature also warned that the car might “perform more frequent lane changes [and] will not exit passing lanes.”
The timing of the complaints also aligns with when Tesla stopped using radar sensors in its vehicles in October. The company announced that it would be switching over to a self-driving system entirely dependent on just camera sensors last year, which it calls “Tesla Vision.” Many experts warn the shift may decrease safety.