Brewing for months now, Tesla has now begun rolling out the latest update to Autopilot for owners of its HW2 vehicles, including Model S and Model X, as confirmed by Elon Musk, the company's chief, via a tweet.
These cars, which were built since October, are equipped with Tesla's second-generation Autopilot hardware, but they have so far not been privy to a slew of safety features already in older and pre-existing Tesla vehicles.
Autopilot Update For Newer Teslas
The software update will roll out to eligible Tesla cars over-the-air, and owners don't need to invoke any sort of action for the software to land on their vehicle. But newer Tesla vehicles will remain bereft of autopilot and semi-autonomous features that older Tesla vehicles benefit from. Additionally, Musk says the some cars' on-board cameras will need pitch angle adjustments by Tesla's service department for Autopilot to function properly.
Autopilot for HW2 rolling out to all HW2 cars today. Please be cautious. Some cars will require adjustment of camera pitch angle by service.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 21, 2017
Tesla announced October that newer Tesla vehicles were being produced with fully integrated self-driving hardware, but on the software side, Tesla has still much to tinker with. Eventually, Tesla says, the vehicles' hardware will be physically capable of autonomous control in all circumstances.
The software update also adds a speed-limited Autosteer for second-generation Tesla vehicles, which is the feature that most owners consider to be Autopilot. Autosteer will work below 45 mph, and it's meant to be used on highways that have clear lane markings. It'll also help with maintaining lane position during sluggish traffic. Musk, however, says that the speed limit will increase as Tesla acquires "more data."
Autosteer will also work with the traffic-aware cruise control system, or TACC, which also rolls out with the software update. Informed by the cars succeeding the vehicle, TACC will perform adjustments — accelerating or decelerating — to maintain a safe distance between neighboring vehicles. The current cap for TACC is 75 mph. Prior to the update, second-generations Tesla vehicles only enjoyed basic cruise control.
Forward Collision Warning, or FCW, will also head to the vehicles. The feature lets the car alert the driver when an object obstructs the path, which could potentially cause a collision. FCW will issue a sound notification and provide a handy visual warning via the instrument panel when if and when this happens. The vehicles, however, won't be treated to Automatic Emergency Braking, or AEB, wherein cars can autonomously perform brakes to prevent crashing.
While the update doesn't bring newer Teslas on a leveled playing field with older ones, it remains a hefty improvement over what vehicle owners were limited to prior. Besides AEB, newer Tesla vehicles can't parallel/perpendicular-park, nor Summon themselves, which is a Tesla feature that began in software version 7.1, where the car enters the garage door, parks, and shuts down all by itself. Similarly, Summon will also let the car wake up and rally up the owner's front door autonomously — some Batmobile level innovation, as it were.
Anyone out there with Tesla vehicles eligible for the software update? Feel free to tell us your experience so far in the comments section below!