Tesla announced on Wednesday that it would release a complete update to its Autopilot system later this month, including new self-driving capabilities.
The new version, which Tesla owners and fans have long-awaited, will update the system with faster hardware as well as new optical software that CEO Elon Musk says will improve safety.
Pete Bannon, a Tesla engineer who is leading hardware development for the Autopilot system, says the company has chips working in prototypes that will drop-in to all three of the company’s models: S, X, and 3. The company did not specify whether the new chip could be substituted in early cars equipped with Autopilot Version 1 hardware.
Substituting a new chip would require Tesla drivers to schedule a visit with a service center to get the new features and the new hardware. Normally, Tesla releases new features via over-the-air software updates, but the announcement indicates that the cars’ Autopilot 2 hardware may not have the capacity to accommodate the upgrade.
Though several Teslas, using Autopilot have been involved in high-profile crashes when the cars were under the software’s control, but Tesla has responded to the crash reports saying that drivers were using the system inappropriately, didn’t heed warnings to put their hands back on the wheel, and showed no signs of paying attention for seconds or even minutes before the crashes occurred.
CEO Elon Musk said in june that Version 9 would “begin to enable full-self driving features.”
That issue is better in latest Autopilot software rolling out now & fully fixed in August update as part of our long-awaited Tesla Version 9. To date, Autopilot resources have rightly focused entirely on safety. With V9, we will begin to enable full self-driving features. — Elon Musk.