Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Tesla’s ‘Autopilot’ is getting an upgrade

Tesla’s ‘Autopilot’ is getting an upgrade

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.

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

Musk said the autopilot issue during lane-merging is better in the current software and will be fully fixed in the August update.

One driver, 38-year-old Walter Huang, was killed in March when his Tesla Model X P100D sped up and then steered into a highway barrier while driving on Autopilot, according to a National Transportation Safety Board report released last week. In the final second before the crash, the vehicle, which was under control of the autopilot, accelerated from 62 to 70.8 miles per hour, while no evidence of pre-crash braking or evasive steering movement was detected.

Tesla's website now features a section on the Autopilot page called, "Full Self-Driving Capability". In the last six seconds, the vehicle did not detect the driver's hands on the steering wheel.

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Musk has complained about the focus on accidents, arguing that self-driving systems are likely to be far safer than human drivers.

"It took the Joshua Brown death to make them take driver monitoring more seriously", Cummings said, referring to a fatal crash in Florida in 2016, during which a Tesla driving on Autopilot slammed into a semitrailer truck. "All you will need to do is get in and tell your auto where to go", the site says.

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

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the SpaceX upgrade package the company will offer for the new Roadster will include around 10 small rocket thrusters that will improve the vehicle's acceleration, maximum speed, braking, and handling.

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