Tesla’s Latest Update Makes Autopilot Nag You More than an Unhappy Wife
There shouldn’t be any compromises when it comes to safety so it’s a good move on Tesla’s partby Kirby Garlitos, on
Tesla’s Version 9.0 update is set to drop in August, and one of its new features is increased nagging alerts to make sure that drivers remain attentive by keeping their hands on the steering wheel. The update is an “improvement” over the current system, which cuts in half the time the system needs to send out alerts to drivers who stray their hands away from the steering wheel.
The increased “Autopilot nag,” as Tesla puts it, may be annoying to many owners, but that’s precisely Tesla’s point. The automaker is more concerned about ensuring that drivers always keep their hands on the steering wheel to keep their attention on the road. It’s a safety issue, first and foremost, and it’s hard to blame Tesla for taking that approach.
The issue, it seems, is that a more aggressive “Autopilot nag” could compel some drivers to turn off the system entirely out of sheer annoyance. Tesla CEO Elon Musk touched on that when he described it as a catch-22 scenario. According to Musk, if the system is too annoying, people won’t use it. But if it’s lax in its alerts, drivers could get too complacent. Either way, the whole point of improving driver safety takes a hit.
The company hopes that the latest version of “Autopilot nag” would be met with understanding. As such, the sensors on the steering wheel that can detect when pressure is being applied to it will now send out alerts every 15 to 20 seconds that pressure is not detected on the steering wheel. It’s a significantly quicker trigger from when the software was introduced back in 2016 as part of the 8.0 update. Back then, the “Hold Steering Wheel” alert would come to life after 60 seconds of the sensors not detecting hands on the wheel at speeds over 45 mph with no vehicles to follow. If the car is tracking a car in front at speeds over 45 mph, the later would be triggered after 3 minutes. That same alert extends to 5 minutes if the car is traveling below 45 mph on a straight road.
Even then, a lot of owners complained about the continuous nagging. Now, it’s 15 to 20 seconds, which is understandably more annoying if you’re not paying attention to it.
Tesla has to do it because it can’t afford more people getting into accidents because they’re not paying attention to the road in front of them. If the goal is to have the driver keep their hands on the steering wheel, the “increased nag” update should do the trick, even if it comes against the wishes of a lot of drivers who think it shouldn’t be required to keep their hands on the wheel.
It’s a delicate balancing act that Tesla has to continuously work with. You can be sure, though, that Tesla’s not going to compromise the safety of its customers, even if it means relentlessly reminding them to keep their hands on the steering wheel of their cars.
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