Monday, September 12, 2016
Elon Musk just announced big improvements coming to Autopilot
Tesla cars are getting a giant upgrade.
On Sunday, CEO Elon Musk revealed details about Tesla 8.0, its biggest software update yet. The update, which is slated to roll out worldwide in a week or two, will include significant updates to Tesla's semiautonomous-driving system called Autopilot.
The update will make Tesla vehicles three times safer than cars without Autopilot, Musk said during a press call Sunday.
"I think it will make the Model S and Model X by far the safest cars on the road. I don’t think there would be a car that is even within a multiple of the S and the X," Musk said.
Musk said Tesla has improved the accuracy of Autopilot by making more use of the radar sensor on Tesla vehicles. Until now, the radar sensor has been a supplementary sensor, but now it will play a greater role in determining whether an object is a danger. The camera and imaging-processing system that currently powers the semiautonomous system will still be used, but the data collected by the radar will carry more weight when deciding how the car should react when in Autopilot.
Musk said that he believes that the change could have prevented the fatal accident that occurred in May, when 40-year-old Joshua Brown crashed into a semitruck while driving down the highway using Autopilot.
As part of the software update, Tesla's Autopilot will also be able to automatically take off-ramp exits and will have improved Autosteering.
Because Tesla cars are connected to the cloud, the company can push out over-the-air software updates to give its cars new features. The electric-car maker rolled out its last big update, Tesla 7.1, in January.