Elon Musk blames ‘fun police’ for recall of over 500,000 vehicles with feature to make goat sounds

Tesla CEO Elon Musk in Gruenheide near Berlin in September 2020  (AFP via Getty Images)
Tesla CEO Elon Musk in Gruenheide near Berlin in September 2020 (AFP via Getty Images)
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Tesla is recalling more than 500,000 vehicles in the US that have the Boombox feature – a software update that allows drivers to play preset or custom sounds from an external speaker such as a bleating goat, fart noises or holiday jingles.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said while the feature can “enhance the conspicuity” of vehicles to pedestrians, vehicles that use Boombox when in motion may “increase the risk of collision”.

The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) establishes requirements for pedestrian alert sounds for electric and hybrid vehicles, and prohibits manufacturers from “altering or modifying the sound emitting capability of the pedestrian warning system (PWS), through which the pedestrian alert sounds emit,” the safety regulator said.

“While Boombox and the pedestrian alert sound are mutually exclusive sounds, sounds emitted using Boombox could be construed to obscure or prevent the PWS from complying with FMVSS 141 when the vehicle is in motion,” it added.

On Twitter, Tesla chief Elon Musk claimed that the “fun police” had forced the company to recall the vehicles.

The recent recall covers more than 579,000 vehicles, including some 2020 through 2022 Tesla Model X, S, and Y vehicles, as well as 2017 through 2022 Model 3s.

This is Tesla’s fourth recall made public in the last few weeks.

Last week, the company recalled 27,000 cars in the US due to windshield defrosting problems. Earlier this month, Tesla recalled more than 817,000 cars after it was found that in some of these vehicles an audible alert may not activate when they start and the driver has not buckled the seat belt.

The electric car manufacturer also recalled over 50,000 US vehicles earlier this month with the full self-driving (Beta) software that allowed some cars to conduct “rolling stops” and not come to a complete stop at intersections. In December, it recalled half a million of its vehicles due to rear-view camera issues and front hood problems.

Two of the recalls were due to the electric car manufacturer violating federal motor vehicle safety standards, while the others were software bugs.

The new Boombox violation too is expected to be fixed with a free-of-charge, over-the-air software update that will disable the feature in drive, neutral, and reverse modes.