Tesla on Sunday announced a slew of new software updates for its cars, mostly revolving around the company’s self-driving “Autopilot” functionality.
Tesla’s autopilot system collects data from every Tesla car on the road and feeds the company’s intelligence network, which is constantly improving and updating to understand how drivers behave in certain situations and specific areas and roads, which informs every other car in the fleet.
The new update —version 7.1 — includes limits on where “Autopilot” can be used — you can no longer use it on residential streets or roads without a central divider — but it also has some improvements for Autopilot, like the ability to better recognize upcoming curves in the road.
This update also includes new restrictions on Autopilot’s Auto-steer function on residential roads or roads without a center divider. On these roads, Auto-steer will be limited to the posted speed limit plus 5 mph, or 10 kph.
And in the newest over-the-air update, Tesla cars can now also be “summoned” with no one in the car, in which they’ll drive up to the owner and park. When Tesla originally showed off this feature, it said the cars will also be able to turn on heating or air conditioning, and play your favorite music so your car’s fully ready for you by the time you get in.
The current version of the summon feature requires the driver to be no further than 33 feet from the car as well as “continually monitor and maintain control of the car” when using the feature. In addition, Tesla requires that the driver only use it on private property with flat topography.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the Autopilot updates were necessary after witnessing dozens of people posting videos of themselves doing unsafe things with their Tesla cars’ autopilot systems. But at the same time, Musk is very proud of how far this self-driving technology has come.
“It’s probably better than a person right now (at driving),” Musk said
Musk added that in the next two years or so, Tesla cars “will be able to drive virtually all roads at a safety level significantly better than humans.”
In addition, update 7.1 will allow the Tesla to self-park both parallel and perpendicular to the curb.
This update also includes new restrictions on Autopilot’s Autosteer function on residential roads or roads without a center divider. On these roads, Autosteer will be limited to the posted speed limit plus 5 mph, or 10 kph.
Musk referred this new restriction as “reasonable” for the safe operation of the car.
Another safety featured added in this update is the curve-speed-adaptation function, which gives the car the ability to scan the curve in the road ahead while in Autopilot and automatically adjust the speed based that information.
The over-the-air, or OTA, software update is a function that Tesla pioneered, and now other major automakers, such as Ford, GM and BMW, are all working to the adopt OTA updates in their upcoming cars.
You can learn more about the latest Tesla update here.
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