As you may already know by now, Tesla has gone from using a combination of radar and cameras to basically just cameras, in what it calls Tesla Vision. This assisted driving program is based on the analysis of the camera equipment that entirely surrounds the car; and the change from radars to cameras meant a decrease in the maximum operating speed of Autopilot, Tesla's autonomous driving package. Now, thanks to a new update that is yet to come, the speed limit will rise to 85 mph (137 km/h).
Tesla's change of approach with respect to camera equipment was the thing that caused the temporary loss of certain capabilities, so much so that the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) came to subtract the occasional point of assessment in terms of active security. However, Tesla engineers have not relented in their high-tech development efforts, and have quickly won back the lost ratings, showing that the safety and driving assistance package responds just as well with cameras as with radars.
Despite this fact, Tesla made the decision not to increase the maximum operating speed again, maintaining the value of 75 miles per hour (120 km/h), which was soon increased to 80 miles per hour (129 km/h). Since then the speed of the system has not changed, despite the fact that a few months have already passed; the last update of last March, the so-called version 10.11, did not include anything about it. It is important to remember that with the radar system, the maximum operating speed of the Autopilot was 90 miles per hour (145 km/h).
Everyone is waiting for the arrival of a new update package that will include different improvements in the way the FSD system works. Some time ago Tesla experienced the occasional failure with the latest versions of the program, being forced to temporarily disable certain functions due to the risk of causing an accident. In a matter of days or weeks, the arrival of version 10.12 of the program is expected, and Elon Musk himself has already confirmed via Twitter that the operating speed will finally grow, although without giving any specific figure.
It's recently been known that said update – that is, 10.12 - will increase the speed not to 90 mph as before, but to a medium term of up to 85 miles per hour (137 km / h); but off course this will not be the only feature included in the package of improvements, as it is one of the key things Tesla drivers have been waiting for quite a long time. Let's remembered that in the United States the speed limit is 75 miles per hour, so the program will give an upper margin of 10 mph (16 km/h).
Within a few months this update will presumably also apply to vehicles outside the United States. Tesla usually takes longer to roll out the updates in other markets such as Europe. Without going any further, Tesla will surely not activate the autonomous driving package in Europe up until this summer, when it has already been operational for months in the United States. The reason is none other than the adjustment of the systems to other (European) regulations and circulation systems. For that reason, and since it is just one more update, it is more than likely that European drivers will also expect an improvement in the operational speed of the program.
All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.
Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.