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As details of Tesla’s new version of Autopilot emerge, there’s a clear emphasis on safety, including a tweet-of-caution from CEO Elon Musk.
Musk’s Twitter feed, TMC Community posts and other news outlets have reported that Autopilot became available last week to cars equipped with second generation hardware – or HW2. Some of the released features include Autosteer functionality limited to a top speed of 45 mph, forward collision warning, and adaptive cruise control limited to a top speed of 75 mph.
The release follows a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report regarding a traffic fatality that occurred while Tesla’s Autopilot was activated. The report concluded that Autopilot was not to blame in the accident.
As The Verge points out, Tesla’s website still says “Enhanced Autopilot” is expected to be delivered in December 2016, providing the ability to automatically transition from one freeway to another, or for the car to autonomously park itself in a parking lot or garage. Obviously, the recent release does not hit that mark. With safety in mind, the company is obviously taking the time necessary to push fully-polished software.
CNET notes that this software update brings HW2 Teslas closer to parity with their predecessors, i.e., vehicles built from September of 2014 to mid-October 2016. Still, it misses features like autonomous emergency braking. Further improvements – all the way to fully autonomy – will be pushed over time as Tesla gathers more driver data. (Coverage: CNET, The Verge, AutoWeek, Business Insider)