Tesla recalling ‘Boombox’ feature that obscures pedestrian warning noise

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Tesla announced a recall of about 579,000 vehicles that have the novelty “Boombox” external music software feature (via Bloomberg). The company plans to remedy the issue by removing the Boombox function via an over-the-air software update, the National Highway Traffic Administration said.

The recall affects all 2020–2022 Tesla Model S, X, and Y vehicles and also some 2017–2022 Tesla Model 3s equipped with the pedestrian warning system, which is an external speaker emitting artificial noises designed to alert pedestrians and cyclists of the passing vehicle. The “Boombox” feature in these cars can obscure this safety feature.

Federal law requires all new electric vehicles and hybrids to create artificial external noise that lets pedestrians hear them approaching. In 2019, NHTSA ruled that manufacturers can create custom sounds and essentially be creative on how their electric vehicles sound while driving at low speeds.

Tesla, which has released party-pleasing cowbell and holiday light show features, went the extra mile by adding goat bleats and DJ horns to let pedestrians and cyclists know of its presence.

This isn’t the first time Tesla has faced scrutiny over its more idiosyncratic features. A recall was issued last week when it was discovered the seatbelt reminder chime might not sound in certain situations. NHTSA also is investigating a complaint that Tesla Arcade games can be played on screen while the vehicle is in motion.

Last month, Tesla also had to update its “Full Self-Driving” beta software to remove a feature that would roll forward at stop signs. And just yesterday, Tesla also had to recall another 27,000 vehicles due to a faulty windshield defroster.

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