Tesla is one of the first automakers to offer self-driving features, but it is still in stage three autopilot — the car can drive itself in many circumstances, but it still requires driver intervention.
A new update coming to Tesla cars may be able to take these cars to the next level of automation — full self-driving features.
What will this new upgrade offer for Tesla owners, and will it make the cars capable of driving on their own?
Just like a cell phone, the software that powers self-driving car capabilities needs frequent updates to add new features, patch security problems and make sure the program runs smoothly. Version 9 of the Tesla software, which is due to release in August, is designed to address several issues with the current version of the system. Part of the upgrade, according to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, will “.”
That’s all Musk has said about the update thus far, and the company has yet to offer any other details as to what the update will entail. Tesla drivers might have to wait for the patch updates after the version comes out in August.
Self-driving cars have earned a bad reputation in recent months, due to the growing number of accidents that have occurred. A self-driving Uber in Tempe, Ariz., ran down a pedestrian during a nighttime test.
A Tesla vehicle got involved in a fatal accident with a truck because the car’s autopilot system failed to detect the truck crossing the road — but the investigation of that accident found the driver and not paying attention to the road, as is required by Tesla’s rules of use.
With the problems that are currently occurring with self-driving cars, is giving them fully self-driving capabilities really a good idea?
Relearning to Drive
The last update to Tesla’s autopilot both amused and angered drivers, who said it reminded them of drivers’ ed all over again. By increasing the amount of driver interaction required during autonomous driving, the new update causes the car to nag the driver so much it has made some people stop using the autopilot features altogether.
This update is update that will be coming out in a couple of months, but many drivers feel it is a step backward when it comes to autonomous car safety, in spite of the fact that it offers new protocols for handling merging and upgraded software that allows the self-driving car to detect other cars on the road better. Human interaction is still necessary at this point to ensure the safety of both the driver and other cars on the road.
The Future of Tesla Autonomy
Tesla drivers still have a couple of months to wait before the Version 9 update goes live, and Tesla is playing their cards close to the chest when it comes to details about this new software patch. Even industry experts aren’t quite sure what “fully self-driving” cars would entail. Could this mean that Tesla has finally found the secret to cars that pilot themselves? Or is this another step toward more advanced semi-autonomous cars like the ones that currently exist?
Self-driving car aficionados will have to wait until Tesla figures out the exact release date for its new update. Hopefully, between now and then, Tesla and Musk will release some more information as to what their idea of fully self-driving cars is.
Thankfully, the August release date is close enough that drivers and tech fans alike don’t have too much longer to wait…
By Kayla Matthews
Kayla Matthews is a technology writer dedicated to exploring issues related to the Cloud, Cybersecurity, IoT and the use of tech in daily life.
Her work can be seen on such sites as The Huffington Post, MakeUseOf, and VMBlog. You can read more from Kayla on her personal website.