The brave new automotive world is growing ever closer. This week, car manufacturer Tesla’s self-driving Autopilot system was cleared in the case of a deadly crash that took place last May with a federal investigation determining human error, not a technological flaw, led to the fatal wreck. It was a major victory for Tesla, and one that saved the company from having to issue a massive recall on the systems.
Now, however, things appear to be full speed ahead. As billionaire Tesla founder and erstwhile space travel magnate Elon Musk tweeted on Saturday, all HW2 Tesla models will be receiving updates to their Autopilot software with some new features incoming. Specifically, they’re adding Autosteer to the mix, albeit with a maximum speed cap of 45 mph.
Previously, the HW2 model Tesla was only equipped with cruise control, and it lacked the Autopilot features that even older generations included. In even a partially automated driving experience, safety is a very loaded topic, as the intense scrutiny of last year’s fatal crash demonstrated. Consequently, Tesla hasn’t rushed out the new software, leaving many owners of the new line (the second-generation Tesla X and Tesla S models) waiting and wanting.
According to Musk, some of the affected cars—only ones made in October 2016 or later are affected by this update—will require their camera angles to be adjusted in order to work with the new software. The update also reportedly includes Traffic-Aware Cruise Control, which automatically regulates speed for freeway driving (capped at a maximum of 75 mph), and it enables drivers to set the distance at which they want to receive a forward collision warning.
To put it in simpler terms: anybody who owns a second-generation Tesla has some fun new features coming. The software upgrades will occur automatically, so there’s no action that owners need to take—unless they need that camera adjustment, that is.
According to Musk, the 45 mph cap on the Autosteer will be raised as the company accrues more data, presumably to better ensure driver safety.
The new Autopilot release caps a big couple of weeks for the billionaire tech innovator. Just last week, his company SpaceX successfully launched a rocket that sent 10 satellites into orbit and returned to the Earth’s surface, touching down on a barge in the Pacific Ocean.
H/T The Verge