August Tesla Autopilot Update to ‘Enable Full Self-Driving Features’ | News & OpinionJune 18, 2018
Think Tesla’s Autopilot driver assistance feature is cool and or crazy now? Just wait until later this summer.
In a Sunday tweet, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that an August Autopilot update will deliver “full self-driving features.” The new Autopilot software will roll out as part of Tesla Version 9.
“To date, Autopilot resources have rightly focused entirely on safety,” Musk wrote. “With V9, we will begin to enable full self-driving features.”
That issue is better in latest Autopilot software rolling out now & fully fixed in August update as part of our long-awaited Tesla Version 9. To date, Autopilot resources have rightly focused entirely on safety. With V9, we will begin to enable full self-driving features.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 10, 2018
Musk was replying to a Twitter user who said Autopilot struggles “when two lanes merge and it is rush hour traffic.”
“The autopilot is not able to decide to let the car slightly ahead on the neighboring lane go ahead and I invariably find myself cornered,” the user wrote.
Musk said that problem “is better” in the latest Autopilot software, and will be “fully fixed” in Tesla Version 9.
The CEO did not specify which autonomous driving features are slated to arrive in August.
On its website, Tesla says it believes full self-driving capability will offer “a probability of safety at least twice as good as the average human driver.”
“The system is designed to be able to conduct short and long distance trips with no action required by the person in the driver’s seat,” the company wrote. “All you will need to do is get in and tell your car where to go. Your Tesla will figure out the optimal route, navigate urban streets (even without lane markings), manage complex intersections with traffic lights, stop signs and roundabouts, and handle densely packed freeways with cars moving at high speed.”
Tesla warns that fully autonomous driving features are “dependent upon extensive software validation and regulatory approval, which may vary widely by jurisdiction.”
Meanwhile, the safety of Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot feature has come into question following a March 23 crash that killed Walter Huang, who struck the center divider on a Northern California highway while behind the wheel of a Model X. A week after the accident, Tesla revealed that the vehicle’s Autopilot feature was turned on, that Huang didn’t have his hands on the steering wheel for six seconds prior to the crash, and he failed to take evasive action. Federal investigators last week reiterated Tesla’s findings in a preliminary report about the crash.
“In the 18 minutes and 55 seconds prior to impact, the Tesla provided two visual alerts and one auditory alert for the driver to place his hands on the steering wheel,” the National Transportation Safety Board wrote. “The alerts were made more than 15 minutes before the crash. The vehicle did not detect the driver’s hands on the steering wheel in the six seconds before the crash.”