Tesla Details Autopilot Launch Features In Latest Update – Videos

Tesla Autopilot

OCT 14 2015 BY JAY COLE 36

Today is the day that Tesla has launched its much anticipated “Autopilot” features inside the Model S’ latest update (v7.o).  Current owners in the US will see that update go live tomorrow (Thursday, October 15th), while in Europe (and Asia) it will still be a couple more weeks.

Video above: Have an early peak at some of the things the car can do via Jalopnik’s test “un-drive”, with additional video walkthrough reviews from ARS and CNET below the story.

All cars made since September of last year will be able to take advantage of both the new interface and Autopilot driving system – that is about 2/3rds of all Teslas on the road today.

Tesla Model S w/ Autopilot

Tesla Model S w/ Autopilot – Side Collision Warning

And no, the car will still not drive you directly to pre-selected location.

New features include: side collision warning, autosteer, emergency auto steering, auto lane changing and autopark (which still requires the driver to be in the car – for now)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk today noted that the system (which he calls “Autopilot 1 – or public beta) is interconnected to other Teslas on the road and “constantly learns” and improves from its experiences in the real world.

Tesla details on the system:

“Your Autopilot has arrived”

Tesla’s commitment to developing and refining the technologies to enable self-driving capability is a core part of our mission. In October of last year we started equipping Model S with hardware to allow for the incremental introduction of self-driving technology: 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 digitally-controlled electric assist braking system.

Today’s Tesla Version 7.0 software release allows those tools to deliver a range of new active safety and convenience features, designed to work in conjunction with the automated driving capabilities already offered in Model S. This combined suite of features represents the only fully integrated autopilot system involving four different feedback modules: camera, radar, ultrasonics, and GPS. 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 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. Digital control of motors, brakes, and steering helps avoid collisions from the front and sides, as well as preventing 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 Autopilot

Tesla Autopilot

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. While truly driverless cars are still a few years away, Tesla Autopilot functions like the systems that airplane pilots use when conditions are clear. The driver is still responsible for, and ultimately in control of, the car. What’s more, you always have intuitive access to the information your car is using to inform its actions.

This release also features the most significant visual refresh yet of the digital displays for every single Model S around the world. The Instrument Panel is focused on the driver and includes more functional apps to help monitor your ride.

The release of Tesla Version 7.0 software is the next step for Tesla Autopilot. 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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36 Comments on "Tesla Details Autopilot Launch Features In Latest Update – Videos"

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They need to add both a rearward looking camera and radar system before I trust this technology. When on the autobahn, too many times I found a sports car screaming up behind me from far away when I started a move to the passing lane. If they don’t have a camera and radar in the rear that’s equivalent to the set in the front, the car may be likely to pull out in front of traffic when there’s a large differential. Although somewhat rare on most speed limited roads, this happens on all highways when there is someone traveling far in excess of the speed limits. I see law enforcement officers frequently overtaking at huge speed differentials. I doubt a “sensor” will have the necessary range or be as accurate as cameras and radar when tracking another vehicle in this situation. I would hate to be in an automated car that pulls out in front of a speeding police officer and either obstructs the officer, or worse. Further, in Germany, one is responsible for “clearing the rear of the vehicle” when braking, or you will be held responsible if someone rear ends you. An ultrasonic sensor with only 16 feet… Read more »

The car already has a reversing camera. So it has a camera. That could be used for the system.

Also, this German concept of you being responsible if you get rear ended is so stupid. The driver behind should always be responsible for leaving a safe distance to the vehicle in front.

Putting all the responsibility on the driver of the vehicle behind isn’t reasonable, especially on the autobahn. As you know, there are sections with no speed limit at all. Yet some traffic moves through those zones at 50-65 MPH. For example, fully loaded semi trucks. Small economy cars loaded with family. Do you really want them free to move into the passing lane without consequence when traffic approaching from the rear may being going more than double their speed? Also in Germany (and most of Europe, in my experience), it’s a driver’s responsibility to promptly turn on their hazard flashers if they encounter an unexpected slowdown in traffic, in order to warn those behind to also slow down or stop. Failure to provide warning to other drivers behind is a traffic offense. It’s usually only enforced if there is an accident that the forward driver could have helped prevent. If this were law in the US, there would be a lot fewer accidents, especially in Tennessee and northern Georgia during less than ideal weather. I understand the concept is foreign to you, but it is far from stupid. After living with the German system for several years, the US of… Read more »
You’re conflating two different cases, or possibly even three. In general, on all roads including limited access highways, the driver behind is responsible for maintaining a safe following distance. That’s certainly true in the U.S., and I presume it’s universal in all countries with traffic laws. But a driver changing lanes is responsible for making sure the lane he’s pulling into is clear of traffic for a reasonable distance. It’s more or less the same responsibility a driver has when turning. Again, I assume that’s universal; how could it possibly work any other way? It’s not the responsibility of every other car on the road to get out of the way of a speed demon, or get out of the way of someone changing lanes! Now, I do understand there is a special case on the Autobahn, with the “unlimited speed” lanes. I’ve never been there, but as I understand it, cars on the Autobahn in general should stay in the right-most lane consistent with their speed. Slower cars shouldn’t get into the left one or two lanes, which are for higher speeds and perhaps even unlimited speed. So in that case, perhaps you’re right in that the car in… Read more »

Most of my post was dedicated to the simplest and most easily understandable cases.

But even on city streets, in Germany, a driver has the legal responsibility to brake cautiously and attempt to avoid being rear-ended when there is a vehicle following. And it makes perfect sense if the goal of traffic law is not to “accept accidents, then blame someone” but “avoid accidents whenever possible”.

In this case, US law treats accidents as a normal part of traffic, and morality comes afterwards, when liability is assigned. Typically one party is determined to have acted immorally, and therefore is responsible.

German law treats accidents themselves as an immorality to be avoided, and all parties that did not act reasonably and proactively to avoid them must accept some responsibility.

But my point is still that if Tesla doesn’t install a rearward facing camera and radar, their autopilot feature won’t ever reach it’s full potential.

stopped reading at “when on the autobahn”

🙂

Not just the autobahn.

You’ve never been overtaken by a police cruiser moving far faster than you on an interstate highway?

Any system that provides automated lane changes should have sensors to prevent the lane change if you’re about to be passed, even if the approaching vehicle is closing at an extremely high speed.

Ultrasonic sensors that see only 16 feet to the rear are insufficient, especially if the ultimate goal really is autonomous driving.

I agree that autobahn is a special case, which obviously creates some problems for autonomous cars (as well as for human drivers).

But also aside from that worst case scenarios, it would be huge value added for a little investment, if the cars had long range rear facing sensors. Most likely the lack thereof is the reason why the driver still needs to be responsible for initiating the lane change maneuver.

Maybe Tesla could offer something like: “Extended sensor suite” as an option for let’s say additional 2000$. I’m sure at least some people would go for that option. They could add a lot of cool stuff for that price, and gather even more data to make driving more secure.

BTW: Couldn’t Tesla use all that data gathered by the armada of sensors from all the Model S’s out there to create their own high precision maps? With all that cars out there they should easily become better than google maps soon…

Heisenberght said: “…it would be huge value added for a little investment, if the cars had long range rear facing sensors. Most likely the lack thereof is the reason why the driver still needs to be responsible for initiating the lane change maneuver.” There is another huge issue for auto makers making self-driving cars: The issue of liability. The instant the human behind the wheel turns responsibility for safe driving over to the car, any liability for an accident will be assumed by the auto maker and/or the maker of the self-driving software. So far, Tesla is making it very clear to drivers that they are still responsible for anything their car does. From comments posted elsewhere on InsideEVs, it appears other auto makers are doing the same with their driver assist features. I am surprised, and a bit disappointed, that Tesla requires the driver to stay in the car even during an “autopark” maneuver. But given the issue of liability, I guess in hindsight I should have seen that coming. However, it does rather negate the advantage of being able to send your car to the garage, or summoning it back from there, if there has to be someone… Read more »
michael said: “Although somewhat rare on most speed limited roads, this happens on all highways when there is someone traveling far in excess of the speed limits. I see law enforcement officers frequently overtaking at huge speed differentials.” I’ve said the same in a comment on an earlier article on the same subject. Surprisingly to me, I’ve gotten argument on the subject. And there are other cases where there is a danger of a car being approached from behind at a speed difference of 30+ MPH. Consider this case: You approach an accident on the highway. One or two lanes are backed up, with a long line of cars moving at slow speed. There is just one lane which has traffic still moving at reasonably high speed. You decide to pull out into that lane… and before you can speed up, a car comes up behind you at 50+ MPH and rear-ends you. Will a detector which has a range of only 16 feet be adequate to detect that soon enough to prevent an accident? Heck no! At 50 MPH, a car travels 16 feet in 0.22 seconds. Even if Autopilot instantly detects the approaching car and also instantly starts… Read more »

Pretty Cool!

But if Tesla is taking this to the world should it not be in metric as that is whet 99% of the wold use.

Probably, but it is an America product, designed by a German and CEO’d by a South African, and its (the metric system) not used by 99% of their customers base.

as it says in the release many times – this system is responsible for nothing.
That has never been an expectation.
Only the driver is responsible and that has been made plain a great many times, in press releases and many, many interviews.
Tesla have used the aircraft autopilot so many times to set an expectation.
Anyone who expected this to be a car that can self drive in any kind of traffic is deluding themselves.

Thank you. These “autobahn” arguments are poorly taken, since even in this IEV article it’s clear you need to “tap” your turn signal to activate the lane change. If you don’t manually “clear your rear”, than its because you didn’t RTFM.

Okay, that”s it!!! I’ve got to have a Tesla. Now all I have to do is figure out how to pay for one.

No mention about Canada when do we get it

Tesla’s marketing said:

“While truly driverless cars are still a few years away, Tesla Autopilot functions like the systems that airplane pilots use when conditions are clear.”

No, Tesla Autopilot is not like an actual airliner autopilot.

With an actual autopilot, once an airliner reaches cruising altitude, the pilot can turn it on, and leave the cockpit to go take care of business elsewhere in the plane. Contrariwise, Tesla Autopilot requires that the driver stay at the controls. In fact, Tesla Autopilot makes sure the driver is present and alert by requiring him to press one of the controls periodically.

In my opinion, for Tesla to label their suite of driver assist features as “Autopilot” is not merely misleading, it’s downright dangerous. How long will it be until some driver decides to read a book, surf the Internet, or even (as in the urban legend about a Winnebago and cruise control) crawl into the back seat to make a sandwich, in the mistaken belief that Autopilot will safely drive the car without needing monitoring?

My guess is, not long at all.

Yes, the autopilot in an airplane is very different from the tesla “autopilot”! If someone tells me the “autopilot” feature is like in a airplane i would expect it so good, that i can read a book, sit in the back, take a short nap and so on.

Even whether the pilot in an airplane still has the responsibility when something strange happens the situation is very different. The pilot can plan half an hour in advance. Like there are no storms ahead, no other planes near… No car driver can see half an hour drive ahead!!!

An real autopilot is not what Tesla did. Tesla autopilot is a cruise control, a little bit advanced version but not more!

And somehow, both of you guys missed that the current version of “Autopilot”, is a work in progress? If one grasps the goal, one also should be able to grasp the name of the feature. 😛

Solution: Build a time machine, and jump to the year that it’s complete. My guess would be 2018. Sheesh.

I think it’s a great first step.
GO TESLA GO!!!

Yes it’s a great first step finally implementing what other luxury cars already had. I applaud them when they will overtake others.

Yes other carmakers don’t do bugfixes and improvements on the fly, but they also progress. I think tesla’s real Autopilot aka. autonomous drive will happen in the same year as mercedes and BMW bring their system to market.

Anon said:

And somehow, both of you guys missed that the current version of “Autopilot”, is a work in progress? If one grasps the goal, one also should be able to grasp the name of the feature. ? ”

By this argument, Motorola should have named its first “brick” cellphone the SmartPhone because they would eventually start making smartphones.

The issue isn’t whether or not Tesla intends to eventually have a fully self-driving car. The issue is whether the term “Autopilot” actually fits the capabilities of the current driver assist features in the Models S and X.

Your analogy is metaphysically absurd. How can you jump to the time the time machine is complete until it actually is complete?
Otherwise carry on being Anon.

quote :
“Tesla Autopilot is not like an actual airliner autopilot.
With an actual autopilot, once an airliner reaches cruising altitude, the pilot can turn it on, and leave the cockpit to go take care of business elsewhere in the plane.”

Have you been in the cockpit of an airplane ?
The pilot definitely cannot leave the cockpit and let the autopilot fly the plane alone. There is always at least one person in the cockpit ready to take over.

Besides, just like on the road, the skies are busy, pilots frequently do small changes of altitude or heading to avoid other traffic as instructed by air traffic control.
When there is any problem the autopilot either starts a holding pattern or disengages. The autopilot does not make decisions, the pilot does.

Tesla’s car autopilot works in a very similar way.
They just added a wake system because they know people aren’t professional drivers and will undoubtedly try to do something else and stop paying attention.

Hmmmm! Per: “When there is any problem the autopilot either starts a holding pattern or disengages”, Actually – any pilot would know – the Autopilot disengages only when you tell it to, either by deselecting it, via a switch, or forcing the Flight controls, which servos and sensors tracking the inputs and outputs, observe the increased control movement or Torque, and disengage! At no time does the Autopilot then simply ‘start a holding pattern’ – which is commonly shaped like a Horse Race Track, but officially with 1 minute straight (in smaller aircraft, longer times but all equal on larger aircraft at higher speeds), 1 minute Turn [banked] for a 180 degree turn, then 1 minute straight, and again 1 minute turn to complete a second 180 degree turn to put you back on original heading at start of Hold [banked]! Repeat, until otherwise informed, or fuel is low and you declare: either – Emergency [top of the priority list for fitting you in], or – a High risk situation, but not an emergency (Pan, Pan, Pan [not Peter Pan]). Autopilots can however – both fly the aircraft to maintain altitude, climb to and hold an altitude, fly in a… Read more »

Thank you, Robert, for that detailed explanation.

Actually I did know that a modern autopilot can be safely engaged even before the plane reaches cruising altitude, but I was trying to simplify things in my post above to better make my point.

My point was not about the range of autopilot features in airplanes. The simplest 1-axis maintain heading in some light airplanes and the fully integrated flight system with auto-land from modern airliners are both autopilots.

My argument was about responsibility and being able to leave the cockpit and let the autopilot fly the plane.
Autopilots require the pilot to stay in the cockpit and be ready to take over at any time.
The Autopilot is at best an automated helmsman, is does not replace a pilot.

Tesla’s autopilot feature follows the same logic : it can hold the steering wheel for you, but you’re still the driver.

+1 Correct, thus the need for the Co-pilot… one individual is always in the cockpit.

K-lein said:

“The pilot definitely cannot leave the cockpit and let the autopilot fly the plane alone. There is always at least one person in the cockpit ready to take over.”

You mean, there is always supposed to be someone sitting at the controls and awake. But sometimes that doesn’t happen, because an autopilot makes it physically possible for the cockpit to go unattended for minutes at a time, or “attended” only by a pilot/co-pilot asleep in his seat.

Note I didn’t claim it was safe.

At teslamotorsclub there is some talk about self-learning capabilites. Does anyone here know more on this? To me this looks like the most promising feature…

That is indeed the most intriguing thing in this announcement.

But since Tesla Autopilot has only just been released “into the wild”, the only people who know how it actually works are those who have been sworn to secrecy (i.e., signed NDAs).

Stay tuned for updates on this subject!

Yeah. I wonder if the learning is collective.
That is, the other cars share their driving experience which is in turn analyzed, focusing on various scenarios that that are difficult for the ai to resolve.

Well, given a “hypothetical” feedback from each time a driver takes over from AP when he is not completely satisfied with the decision the AP makes, that would effectively mean that Tesla will soon have a lot of people “training” the software under real conditions. More than Google self driving cars have.

So they could soon outcompete Google in terms of human supervised learning in real live driving situations.

Well that’s all speculation, so I try to further stay tuned 😉 and not get lost in speculations.

This should be a response to “Pushmi-Pullyu”

Been testing autopilot since Oct 15th, been working most of the time except for auto parking, the curb must be higher than normal in order to work, link shown below.

Autopilot is perfect specially during heavy traffic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0qBp_CDPec