Tesla has begun rolling out a new iteration of Autopilot, which includes improvements to the electric cars’ vehicle detection capabilities and a more assertive Autopilot “nag”.  

Recent comparison videos posted about the latest Autopilot update show that Autopilot-equipped Model S, Model X and Model 3 with the newest software update now display far more vehicles on their displays. A recent image shared by Model 3 owner and r/TeslaMotors subreddit member Chris Amir, shows as many as eight vehicles in front.

A Model 3 with v8.1(2018.21.9) displaying vehicles ahead. [Credit: Chris Amir/Reddit]

According to Tesla, its vehicles’ main forward camera is capable of seeing 150 meters ahead, while its narrow forward camera sees even further at 250 meters. The forward-facing radar can also detect objects as far as 160 meters ahead of the vehicle. Considering the observations from Tesla owners, with update v8.1(2018.21.9), objects that Tesla’s sensors can identify are better rendered on the electric cars’ displays.

Despite the improved update, Tesla owners with Autopilot 2 hardware are reporting that surrounding vehicles are displayed as sedans, unlike Autopilot 1, which distinguishes and renders motorcycles, trucks and even humans on the road. Apart from this, however, a comparison of the performance of the two systems on the same stretch of road under similar conditions suggests that Tesla’s AP2 system is now all but comparable to the acclaimed and popular AP1. A video comparison of the two systems can be found below. 

Apart from displaying more vehicles on its display, Tesla’s recent update also seems to have improved the system’s capability to engage when leaving the freeway on Autopilot. As noted by Model 3 owner u/mitchmarnershands from the r/TeslaMotors subreddit, his car slowed down adequately as it left the highway on Autopilot, applying just enough brakes to ensure that it was not traveling too fast. The Model 3 owner, however, noted that it took a couple of tries before the electric car activated Autopilot and reduced enough speed during the off-ramp maneuver.

During the 2018 Annual Shareholder Meeting, CEO Elon Musk announced that Autopilot is set to receive substantial upgrades in the months to come. According to Musk, he believes that the reliability and capability of the driver-assist system will “increase exponentially” over the next 6-12 months. Musk also noted that the night before the shareholder meeting, he was trying out Autopilot’s on-ramp/off-ramp maneuvers — a feature that he expects to be released in the next couple of months.

An even bigger update is set to be rolled out in August, however, as Musk also announced that Tesla would start rolling out the first features of its Full Self-Driving suite to is fleet with the release of Software Version 9. During Musk’s announcement on Twitter, he noted that Tesla has so far been focusing on safety with Version 8, but as soon as V9 is rolled out, the company can start enabling FSD features. Tesla would also be restarting Autopilot Free Trials hopefully next month.

Tesla’s latest Autopilot update improves vehicle detection in adjacent lanes



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