When recently asked on Twitter about the release of Tesla Autopilot 8.0, CEO Elon Musk assured that it would be rolling out worldwide this coming Wednesday.
The update is part of Tesla's near-term solution to the problems that led to the fatal Model S crash in Florida. The NHTSA requested information from Tesla, including Autopilot testing results from before and after the tragic incident, along with Tesla's plans to fix the known issues. Autopilot 8.0 is the company's answer for now.
Musk believes that the new system will not be able to make the same mistake as the system in use during the recent crash. The over-the-air update will include a special list, a "geocoded whitelist", that will make the system aware of previously identified objects like bridges, signs, or any other possible obstacles. This way, the system won't be able to confuse such permanent structures with vehicles. In the fatal crash in May, it was determined that the Autopilot system confused an overhead sign (initially thought to the bright, white sky) with the trailer of the truck, causing the automatic braking system to fail to engage.
The most substantial change to the system itself will be the use of more radar instead of camera, to make the Autopilot more accurate. Musk admitted:
"After careful consideration, we now believe can be used as a primary control sensor without requiring the camera to confirm visual image recognition."
Musk also promises that the new system will be able to see two vehicles ahead using "radar echo". This feature will help immensely if the vehicle in front of you suddenly swerves. As the system is put in pace this week, we will keep you updated.
For a more detailed description of Autopilot 8.0, click here.