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Tesla Close To Autonomous Driving Breakthrough

Tesla

Tesla will release its biggest software update in two years by the end of the week, chief executive Elon Musk, true to himself, said in a tweet in response to a Tesla owner’s question. Reporting on the news, Electrek’s Fred Lambert noted, in addition to it being the biggest update since 2016, that it will feature substantial improvements to the Tesla Autopilot system.

The Autopilot shone the spotlight on Tesla several times this year when a string of accidents involving Tesla vehicles were blamed by their drivers on the Autopilot system, even though the company has repeatedly warned that the system does not make the vehicle a self-driving car and the driver needs to keep their hands on the wheel at all times. The accidents, regardless, prompted investigations by the road safety authorities.

One Tesla owner who crashed her vehicle into a fire truck in May this year even filed a lawsuit against the carmaker, arguing that Tesla spokespeople “told her in 2016 when she purchased the Model S that she could just touch the steering wheel occasionally while using the Autopilot mode.”

The police investigation of the accident suggested that the driver had taken her hands off the wheel and kept them away for as long as 80 seconds, until the crash occurred. Heather Lommatzsch is suing Tesla for US$300,000 in damages.

Besides the Autopilot improvements, Electrek reports, the version 9 will include a new user interface for the Model X and Model S, which is more similar to the user interface on the Model 3. Leaked information about the update also revealed a new feature dubbed “Drive on Nav”, which seems to be part of the updated Autopilot system. Electrek’s Lambert recalls Musk previously said eventually Tesla owners would be able to enter a destination and the car will drive them there autonomously.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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