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Elon Musk announces updated Tesla Autopilot available in June

Elon Musk announces updated Tesla Autopilot available in June

Author: Eric Walz   

Elon Musk announces updated Tesla Autopilot available in June


Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter on Sunday, May 21st to let the world know that a revised version of the company's semi-autonomous Autopilot software will be available for compatible cars next month. Musk tweeted "A software update coming next month includes a new control algorithm that "feels smooth as silk."

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The release will be for the most recent versions of the Model S sedan and Model X SUV, built from October 2016 onward.The update is limited to Hardware 2 vehicles as the newer models come with a more powerful computer, the Nvidia Drive PX 2. Earlier Tesla vehicles, known as HW1 or "Hardware 1" vehicles utilize sensors and software algorithms developed by Mobileye.

However, after a fatal crash in May 2016 that attracted much media attention, the relationship between Tesla and Mobileye deteriorated, and Tesla decided to develop its own in-house sensor suite and software.

An NHTSA investigation into the crash revealed that the car's software was not to blame for the accident and that virtually every automatic emergency braking system would also have failed to activate given the specific circumstances of the crash.

While Musk has said that HW2 (hardware 2) vehicles carry the right equipment to eventually allow fully autonomous driving (Level 4 & 5), the vehicle software is programmed with a much more limited set of abilities than the earlier HW1 models. That led several Tesla owners to sue the company, accusing it of selling "vaporware", which is advertised software that is not yet available.

Other Recent Autopilot Updates

A previous software update released in March added features such as automated lane changing and self-parking to the newer Tesla models. It also raised the speed limit for Autosteer in Hardware 2 cars to 80 mph. Two weeks ago, Tesla issued another update increasing the Autosteer limit to 90 mph.

Musk said the latest updates left Autosteer feeling "safe, but unpleasant" to drivers, and that this latest update will correct that by smoothing out the automated steering response. Tesla has been constantly tweaking the code, increasing the speed at which Autopilot can function in these HW2 cars.

Additionally, the June update will activate the rain sensors, which will also automatically turn on the windshield wipers, and allow all Teslas built since October 2016 to park themselves into perpendicular parking spaces, according to Musk's tweets. Musk also replied to a tweet about the company's planned coast-to-coast Autopilot demonstration run, which he wrote should happen by the end of this year. There's more, Musk's most recent tweet: "All Model S and X cars will have an auto raise and lower function for the steering wheel in a few months."

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally from New Jersey, Eric is an automotive and technology reporter specializing in the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley. Eric has over fifteen years of automotive experience and a B.A. in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the automotive industry and beyond. He has worked on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology. Outside of work, Eric likes to travel to new places, play guitar, and explore the outdoors.
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