Tesla's August Autopilot update will begin to enable "full self-driving features"

12 Juin, 2018, 08:27 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Tesla's August Autopilot update will begin to enable

While the company has repeatedly pointed to human error in these cases, the "Autopilot" branding has left some drivers confused about the capabilities of the software, which is still now more of an "assist" feature than a a fully autonomous driver/navigator.

Musk offered no details about the system, which could accelerate the effort to put more self-driving cars on the roads in the United States.

Shares of Tesla (TSLA) rose as much as 5 percent on Monday after the news.

The Tesla founder made the disclosure in a Twitter conversation, responding to a user who complained about issues with Autopilot, which is now considered semi-autonomous with the requirement that a motorist be at the wheel at all times.

But consumer groups say Tesla's marketing has often skirted the lines between encouraging responsible driving and suggesting the cars can drive themselves.

On Tesla's website, it describes upcoming features - including the ability for a vehicle to change lanes without driver input, move from one freeway to another, and exit a freeway near the driver's destination - that are not available in Autopilot's current iteration. Huang had set the vehicle to drive at 75 miles per hour, but his hands were detected on the steering wheel just 34 seconds of the last minute before impact.

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Tesla encourages drivers to pay attention while Autopilot is engaged, and its cars include features that nudge drivers into taking over if, for instance, they're not grabbing onto the steering wheel.

In its current iteration, Tesla's Autopilot feature can keep a vehicle in its lane and adjust its speed based on surrounding traffic, among other features. Tesla representatives said they are investigating the incident.

Testing of autonomous vehicles are still required to have humans in the driver seat right now, and Tesla might well point to inaction as the cause of the crash as opposed to failure of its system, though the report will not enforce the insistence autonomous vehicles are safer than human operated ones. "And, as pointed out by NTSB, it still failed to prevent (Huang's) death, and indeed likely caused it". "All you will need to do is get in and tell your auto where to go", the site says.

"The software update is good news", said analyst Chaim Siegel from Elazar Advisors, adding the stock was still benefiting from last week's prediction by Musk that it would finally hit its production target for its Model 3 sedan.

Tesla has been gradually upgrading its Autopilot features with regular software updates.

"We can't treat cars like we do phones or computers", he said.

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