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Tesla Autopilot Upgrades Could Start Rolling Out In The Next Week

In a recent tweet by Tesla's CEO Elon Musk, the company may be rolling out the start of its autopilot functionality sooner than we thought.
Posted: December 23, 2016 - 5:26AM
Author: Dave Ashton

Reports had come out in November from Tesla Motors saying that the Enhanced Autopilot should start to see the light of day around mid December. Now that has been confirmed by Elon Musk tweeting, 'Looks like we might be ready to rollout most of Autopilot functionality for HW2 towards the end of next week.' The HW2 hardware cannot currently access the features which give self driving abilities such as smart summon, auto lane change and collision warning, for instance. However, Tesla still need to get in millions of road miles to further improve the efficiency of the system before they can fully activate them on the HW2 hardware.

Although the start of the rollout maybe next week, current Tesla owners will probably have to wait a few months more to get the full array of features, with most being fully rolled out throughout 2017. These eventual upgrades hope to make the autopilot potentially even safer than human driven vehicles.

One of the updates, which is causing news at the moment is the ability to stick to the top speed limit and speed limits of the area they are driving. When Tesla's Autosteer function is activated, the autopilot will limit the speed of the vehicle to a capped limit on highways, but it won't apply to the freeway with the limit being 90 mph. The previous editions of the software allowed the vehicles to exceed the speed limit by 5 mph, now that won't happen with strict speed limits being adhered to. The system updates will also be able to alert the driver when they need to take back the wheel when necessary. These updates ultimately will make the vehicles even safer than before.

Studies from a Purdue University in 2008 stated that most US drivers don't necessarily follow the speed limits, which can be one of the causes of major accidents. “Of the 988 drivers in the survey, 21 percent thought it was safe to drive up to 5 mph over the speed limit, 43 percent thought it was safe to drive up to 10 mph over and 36 percent thought it was safe to drive up to 20 mph over the speed limit.”

This all means that orders of the Model S or Model X from October 2016 will have a new autonomous vehicle on their hands, with feature rollouts coming regularly in the next year. For those of the Knight Rider generation, we now potentially have our very own K.I.T.T. cars. Shame Tesla won't add the cool, red hood lights from the show's car, but we can't have everything.