On Wednesday, Tesla released a new version of its software for Autopilot 2.0, bringing new semi-autonomous driving capabilities to the Model X and Model S. The update aims to bring late-model cars to parity with the original, first-generation software.
What Tesla’s latest Autopilot update brings
The new update for Hardware 2 electric cars (produced after October 18, 2016) brings new convenience and safety features to HW2-equipped cars. The update enables Autosteer at much higher speeds — 80mph in comparison to 55mph before– the Summon feature, Auto Lane Change and the Lane Departure Warning system. The software’s Autosteer feature depends on traffic-aware cruise control.
As many might expect, the Auto Lane Change feature causes the car to change lanes after the driver activates the turn signal while the car is in Autopilot. The car’s sensors are used to make sure that the lane is safe and free of traffic. When a vehicle crosses over a lane marking, the Lane Departure Warning alerts the drivers through a vibration in the steering wheel.
We already know about the functions of the Summon feature, which activates the self-parking-and-retrieval system that can be controlled by the owner through their car’s key fob or the Tesla mobile app. The automaker introduced the Summon feature in January 2015 in the first software update for its HW1-equipped vehicles. The latest software patch brings this capability to Hardware 2-equipped electric cars.
What’s special for the Tesla Model X?
Model X owners get one-tap automatic seat adjustment in the update, giving them more control over the positioning of the middle row seats. The new adjustment capability also helps lower the default height of the falcon doors. Such a feature can come in very handy in parking areas with low ceilings, notes Fortune.
Version 8.1 appears to navigate freeway conditions with more confidence, but it is still not on par with Tesla’s first-generation Autopilot, notes Teslarati. The new update started rolling out to vehicles in North America on Wednesday, and over the next couple of days, the patch will be rolled out to all countries worldwide.
Last year, CEO Elon Musk said he hoped to do the first cross-country test drive of a fully self-driving Tesla vehicle by the end of 2017. That means a big launch could follow in a few months.
At 9:49 a.m. Eastern, Tesla shares were up 1.43% at $281.35. Year to date, the stock is up almost 32%.