Musk blames ‘fun police’ for Tesla’s recall over goat & fart noises

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Boombox feature allowed drivers to play preset or custom sounds, which obscured warnings for pedestrians

Elon Musk has ribbed US regulators for forcing Tesla to recall more than half a million cars over safety concerns. The recall was due to their Boombox feature, a 2020 update that allows Tesla drivers to play sounds such as goat or fart noises outside the vehicle.

In a tweet on Sunday, Musk labeled the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the “fun police” for forcing him to recall his product. “The fun police made us do it (sigh),” Musk responded to a Twitter follower who had asked him about the rationale behind the Boombox recall.

Last week, the NHTSA said the Boombox feature, which allowed Tesla drivers to play preset or custom sounds from an external speaker while the vehicle is moving, was increasing the risk of a crash. The regulator explained that the feature drowned out audible warnings for pedestrians, breaching safety standards in the US. Pedestrian warnings are required in all electric and hybrid vehicles, the NHTSA said, because EVs are quieter than cars with internal combustion engines.

It’s the fourth recall made public in two weeks, according to AFP, and the 11th recall in the past four months for the company. Last week, Tesla recalled 817,143 vehicles due to a chime that would not always sound if a driver’s seat belt was unbuckled. And just prior to that, the company recalled its “full self-driving” software, which had been programmed to roll through stop signs in certain circumstances.

The latest recall is a voluntary decision from Tesla after weeks of correspondence with the regulator. 

The company plans to remotely update its software to fix the Boombox problem, so that car owners won’t need to return to a service outlet to have the issue resolved. The update will disable the Boombox feature when the vehicle is in drive, reverse or neutral mode.

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