Updates To Autopilot System Adds New Safety Restrictions
Tesla is responding to the spat of accidents being blamed on the autonomous driving technologyby Kirby Garlitos, on
Tesla’s Autopilot system has been a lightning rod for the electric car maker, so much so that the recent spat of reported accidents being attributed to the system has put Tesla on the defensive. Now, the company is fighting back with a new restriction for the upcoming v8.0 software update that effectively puts the responsibility back in the driver’s hands.
According to Electrek, the new safety restriction blocks the driver from re-engaging the Autosteer feature of the Autopilot system in the event the system is disengaged because its audio and visual alerts are repeatedly ignored. The feature will only be reactivated if the car is stopped and put in “Park.” The same report indicates that the Autopilot’s other main feature, Traffic Aware Cruise Control (TACC), will still be available for the duration of the drive.
Considering how specific the restrictions are, it’s easy to see that the updates were made in large part to avoid a repeat of the spat of accidents that have been blamed on the Autopilot system. Now, Tesla owners are being given more responsibility to respond to the visual alerts or risk seeing the feature get disengaged in the middle of their drives. In addition to the new restrictions, the new update is also expected to receive improvements in efficiency and the ability to handle ramp-to-ramp highway driving with the obvious caveat of requiring owners to always remain vigilant to road.
Tesla has not made an announcement on when the new v8.0 software update will arrive, but expect it to arrive sooner than later, especially after Elon Musk was quoted recently as saying that the update is in the final review phase.
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Why it matters
We all knew that it was coming at some point. Tesla needed to respond to the number of accidents that have been blamed, right or wrong, on the Autopilot system. Now the response is coming and for what it’s worth, it’s a huge statement to put this new restriction in place so that future Tesla owners who get into accidents and then blame the system won’t have as strong of a leg to stand on to make their case.
The deactivation of the Autosteer feature also gives drivers more responsibilities on the road, which should have been the case from the very beginning. Now, I expect more Tesla owners to not only be more responsible with using the Autopilot system, but just as important, to be vigilant in ensuring that the system is being used properly.