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Tesla Software Enables More ‘Autopilot’ Features

October 16, 2015

Image courtesy of Tesla Motors.
Image courtesy of Tesla Motors.

Tesla Motors’ Oct. 14 software update for the Model S provides drivers with a range of new active safety features, the company said.

About a year ago, Tesla started equipping the Model S all-electric luxury sedan with hardware to permit incremental introduction of self-driving technology. This equipment included a forward radar, a forward-looking camera, 12 long-range ultrasonic sensors positioned to sense 16 feet around the car in every direction at all speeds, and a high-precision and digitally controlled electric assist braking system.

The Tesla Version 7.0 software release lets Model S drivers take greater advantage of such equipment and enjoy additional active safety and convenience features. These features are designed to work in conjunction with the automated driving capabilities already offered in the Model S, Tesla said on its company blog.

“This combined suite of features represents the only fully integrated autopilot system involving four different feedback modules: camera, radar, ultrasonics, and GPS,” Tesla said. “These mutually reinforcing systems offer realtime data feedback from the Tesla fleet, ensuring that the system is continually learning and improving upon itself.”

Autopilot allows the Model S to steer within a lane, change lanes with the simple tap of a turn signal, and manage speed by using active, traffic-aware cruise control, Tesla said. Digital control of motors, brakes and steering helps avoid collisions from the front and sides. Such control also prevents the car from wandering off the road.

“Your car can also scan for a parking space, alert you when one is available, and parallel park on command.” Tesla said. “Tesla Autopilot relieves drivers of the most tedious and potentially dangerous aspects of road travel. We’re building Autopilot to give you more confidence behind the wheel, increase your safety on the road, and make highway driving more enjoyable.”

The software release also features a visual refresh of the digital displays for all Model S vehicles. The instrument panel is focused on the driver and includes more applications to help monitor the trip.

“The release of Tesla Version 7.0 software is the next step for Tesla Autopilot,” the company said. “We will continue to develop new capabilities and deliver them through over-the-air software updates, keeping our customers at the forefront of driving technology in the years ahead.”

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