Tesla sends Enhanced Autopilot update to 1,000 new Model S and Model X units

Article by Christian A., on January 5, 2017

The much-anticipated Autopilot update from Tesla Motors is finally here, a good sign that the electric carmaker is inching closer to making its entire vehicle lineup capable of autonomous driving. Certainly, this would be a big reason to rejoice if you are an owner of a Tesla vehicle.

But before you celebrate, Tesla Motors has clarified that not all Tesla units will receive the update called the Enhanced Autopilot system. The latest Autopilot update will only be sent over-the-air to 1,000 new Tesla cars, including the brand new Tesla Model S and Tesla Model X.

As far as we could remember, the newer versions of the Model S and Model X feature the so-called Hardware 2, a redesigned suite of hardware that includes 12 ultrasonic sensors and eight cameras that allow the new modes to monitor on-road activity. However, these ultrasonic sensors and cameras can’t be utilized well because they lack the necessary complementary software.

Thus, unlike Tesla vehicles with the first generation Autopilot. the newer Model S and Model X vehicles don’t feature similarly capable driver assist features. This is why Tesla has promised – as part of its December 2016 goal – to send the Enhanced Autopilot system over-the-air before the year ends. On the eve of the new year, Tesla sent the updated Autopilot to 1,000 new Model S and Model X units.

So, if you own an older Tesla vehicle that doesn’t have the Hardware 2 suite, you won’t be able to receive the Enhanced Autopilot. Now, if you own a new Tesla Model S or Model X and still haven’t received the update, don’t fret. Tesla founder and chief executive Elon Musk has promised to send the Enhanced Autopilot to the next batch of new Model S and Model S as soon they have verified that no field issues were experienced.

A source privy with the Tesla update told Electrek that the California-based electric carmaker is being exceptionally cautious with it. The source noted that although only a few Tesla vehicles are using the full Autosteer feature sans any restriction, the carmaker is being careful simply because it is a new hardware suite.

So, what does the Enhanced Autopilot offer for the new Tesla Model S and Model X? The update includes the Autopilot’s Traffic Aware Cruise Control feature, Forward Collision Warning, and Autosteer, which could be enabled at low speeds as a Beta feature.

Tesla wants the Autosteer feature to be used in heavy traffic conditions with vehicles moving at speeds of below 35 mph. According to Tesla Motors, the recent update is only the first phase of the Enhanced Autopilot technology. Further updates will be made every few months.

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