After a long and arduous wait, there is finally an answer: Tesla will be rolling out its new Autopilot 8.1 software in “about three weeks” time.
Last month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk let slip that all of its cars, from the affordable Model 3 all the way to the flagship Model S would come fitted with self-driving hardware as standard, and that this ought to lend Tesla’s motor cars a substantially higher safety rating than its human-driven competition. In order to do that, the Californian company puts a strong emphasis on software, whilst still prioritising an enhanced owner experience.
An important distinction between Tesla’s cars and its competitors is that Tesla can roll out software updates ‘over the air,’ where functionality and enhancements can be rolled out throughout the life of the car, much like one would get updates for a smartphone. As such, the new update will ‘unlock’ some features that have not been made available in the very latest batch of Tesla cars, which have been kept unavailable pending further calibration.
Naturally, this has frustrated plenty of current owners, who may have bought into the Tesla brand after hearing marketing of the Autopilot 8.0 (the current software) being billed as “the biggest update since the Model S.” In fact, the annoyances that have come about with 8.0 is precisely how we discovered the rollout of Autopilot 8.1: An anxious owner tweeted Elon Musk, in an attempt to narrow down the time frame.
The new software will not only make available features that have been ‘locked’ for some time, but it will also add on the ability for Autopilot to exit motorways all on its own, something that the cars have been unable to do previously. 8.1 will also coincide with the launch of Enhanced Autopilot, which will finally allow Tesla’s cars to be rated at Level 5 autonomy, which will see the software recognised as a safer driver than a human being.
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