Friday, March 24, 2017

Elon Musk Tweets Tesla Software 8.1 Update Due Next Week

The death of Joshua Brown on a Florida highway last spring rocked the world of Elon Musk and Tesla. Suddenly, the highly touted Autopilot system didn’t seem so reliable. NHTSA opened an investigation into the accident. Germany’s minister of transportation called Autopilot a menace on the highway. The long working relationship between Tesla and MobliEye blew up into an embarrassing public spat. Tesla blamed MobilEye’s camera. MobilEye blamed Tesla software.
Tesla software for Autopilot
Prior to that fatal accident, Tesla’s Autopilot relied on a forward facing camera as its primary means of gathering information about the outside world. After the accident, Musk and company ripped up the Autopilot playbook and made the forward looking radar the primary input device. Tesla engineers even figured out how to bounce radar signals under and around a car in front to determine if there was a dangerous situation taking place up the road.
In October, Tesla stopped building cars with the original Autopilot hardware suite and started installing what it called Hardware 2 on all cars built at the factory in Fremont, California. But there was a problem. The new hardware package required all new software to make the car function correctly in Autopilot mode. Tesla had accumulated many millions of miles worth of driving data from the old system but had relatively little data with which to write the code for the new system. As a result, owners of earlier cars had more functionality from their Autopilot systems than owners of newer cars.
Elon Musk said Version 8.1 of the Tesla software would be available last December. It wasn’t. Then he said it would be available in January. It wasn’t. February came and went. Earlier this month, he tweeted that the upgrade was coming in about 10 days.
@elonmusk @mcannonbrookes Sorry to change the topic, but ... what's the new ETA for 8.1? 😀
@BizbuilderUSA @mcannonbrookes It's been a bear to get done, but prob 10 days or so, depending on full speed autosteer test results
Finally this week, Elon tweeted that the upgrade would be ready next week, probably on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Patch for our impatience 😉 Would it be possible to see the 8.1 release notes pending its release? Thanks for all your inspiration @elonmusk
Once the upgrade is ready and downloaded, owners of Teslas built since last October should finally have an Autopilot system that is as good or better than the original. Eventually, once enough data has been collected with the new system, cars with the Hardware 2 package should be capable of fully autonomous driving — something earlier cars could not do. As Musk says, once self driving is permitted by regulators, a person in New York City could summon his car parked in Los Angeles to drive across the country on its own and park itself in downtown Manhattan without any help from a human driver.
That scenario may not be pertinent to most people, but the dramatic increase in safety the new system will provide certainly will be.

Source: InsideEVs

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