Tesla announced two new safety features that soon will be available for update over-the-air to all Tesla customers globally making the cars (built after October 2016) even safer, while not driving on Autopilot (or for those without Autopilot).
Those features are:
- Lane Departure Avoidance
- Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance
Together they extend the basic Lane Departure Warning system, which warns drivers through a steering wheel vibration if they begin to drift out of their lane without their turn signal engaged.
The Lane Departure Avoidance, if activated actively, corrects the steering angle to stay within the lane at speeds between 25 and 90 mph. The system will also monitor the driver:
"Lane Departure Avoidance lets a driver elect to have corrective steering applied in order to keep them in their intended lane. When the feature is in use and a driver is departing a lane without their turn signal on, the car will also check to see whether a driver’s hands are on the wheel. If a driver’s hands are not detected on the wheel, the driver will receive a series of hands-on reminders and alerts, similar to the ones that our cars provide to customers who use Autopilot. If a driver's hands are repeatedly not detected on the wheel when Traffic Aware Cruise Control is in use, their car will gradually slow down to 15 miles below the speed limit or below the car’s set speed and turn its hazard lights on."
The second feature, Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance, takes into account other vehicles and steers the car back if it is departing its lane and there could be a collision. This feature can be turned off only for a particular trip.
"Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance is designed to steer a Tesla vehicle back into the driving lane if our system detects that it is departing its lane and there could be a collision, or if the car is close to the edge of the road. This feature will automatically be enabled at the beginning of every drive, but can be turned off for a single drive by going to the Autopilot Controls menu.
Tesla says that the new features would help to avoid common accident types, which is good. The question is how much this will impact the difference between Autopilot and non-Autopilot in quarterly stats?