Tesla Model 3 Caught Inadvertently Speeding Up With Autopilot Engaged

A Tesla Model 3 owner noticed they were going faster than usual while traveling on Wisconsin's Interstate 43 (I-43). Once they realized what was happening, the car was already going 20 mph over the posted speed limit. Let's dive in.
Tesla Model 3 Speeding Up by Itself while on Autopilot 25 photos
Photo: lemkepf on Reddit / autoevolution edit
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Tesla investors and fans continue to claim that the automaker's advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) are the best in the business. Unfortunately, for those who believe that Autopilot or FSD Beta are infallible, a Model 3 owner comes forward with yet another potentially dangerous error.

A member of the subreddit dedicated to Model 3 owners shared with other buyers or prospective customers that their all-electric car started speeding up by itself while Autopilot was active on I-43. The automaker's cleverly named ADAS works like the adaptive cruise control found on most vehicles on sale today. Theoretically, it should be capable of maintaining a certain speed and braking when it gets too close to another traffic participant by itself.

Some vehicles also have a camera that can help them recognize traffic signs and even lights. The now Texas-based automaker calls this feature "Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control" and tells owners in the manual that it may behave inconsistently because it's in the Beta stage of development. Developers use this step to build a minimum viable product through continuous testing and refining.

The same applies to Autopilot, which is also a Beta feature. Tesla even warns owners that its ADAS "may not recognize or detect oncoming vehicles, stationary objects, and special-use lanes" and recommends them to "remain alert at all times and be prepared to take immediate action."

Fortunately, this Model 3 owner was aware that something peculiar was going on while they were on the freeway, even though the vehicle had to go 20 mph (32 kph) over the posted speed limit for them to notice the change and understand that they had to take over. But they managed to avoid a ticket, so things turned out well. "Turned on Autopilot on the freeway and I noticed the car just speeding up faster and faster. Got freaked out when I realized we were 20 over the speed limit..." said the owner.

Tesla Model 3
Photo: Tesla
To prove that something peculiar was going on and a bug may need a hotfix, they asked the front passenger to record that Autopilot did indeed increase the speed of the EV by itself. The footage available below shows that the ADAS was activated while traveling at 76 mph (122 kph). Shortly after the double tap of the gear stalk, Autopilot increases the maximum allowed speed by itself. In a couple of seconds, it reaches 80 mph (129 kph).

The driver confirmed that they left the software to do all the acceleration, so this is likely a bug that needs Tesla's immediate attention. At the same time, the scroll wheel can be at fault.

The Model 3 owner said they had created a service ticket already, but only after performing a reboot which brought the vehicle to the default factory settings.

If you're a Tesla customer and experience something similar, remember to report the problem to the automaker. This can be done via the Voice Assistant by saying "Bug Report" and describing the issue. This will enable the vehicle's system to create a log of an incident when it happens, allowing you to remain in control of the car throughout the event.

Tesla's vehicles have been at the center of an "unintended acceleration" scandal that resulted in the brand publishing a statement three years ago explaining that a short-seller wanted to profit from creating an issue that did not exist. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigated and concluded in 2021 that drivers were to blame for the sudden acceleration. But as reported before, it remains a myth until it happens to you.

Autopilot speed increasing by itself every couple seconds... what the heck?
by u/lemkepf in TeslaModel3
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About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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