Tesla Firmware Update 7.0

SEP 10 2015 BY MARK KANE 30

Tesla Autopilot

Tesla Autopilot

While  most Tesla Model S sedans on the roads still uses 6.x firmware, a group of beta testers are now using new 7.0 firmware with autopilot features.

Teslarati recently received a photo with revised user interface design and Autopilot feature (above).

Navigation system instruction suggests that beta tests of 7.0 are occurring in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley areas.

Source: TESLARATI

 

Categories: Tesla

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30 Comments on "Tesla Firmware Update 7.0"

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Pushmi-Pullyu
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Pushmi-Pullyu
I predicted that we would not see the automated lane changing feature enabled for use on public roads, due to the very limited ability of the ultrasonic sensors to detect approaching cars to the left, right, and rear of the Model S. I predicted this would not be enabled until Tesla upgraded the left, right, and rear sensors to cover more distance. Apparently I was wrong? The science and math appears pretty straightforward. The ultrasonic detectors have a rather limited range, and this is shown on the diagram above. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, the reliable sensing range is 25 feet. A car approaching at a difference in speed of 30 MPH, or 44 feet per second, will close that distance in 0.68 seconds. Even if the onboard computer reacts instantly, is less than a second time enough to maneuver out of the way of the approaching car? Obviously it depends on how violently the so-called “autopilot” can steer the Model S out of the way. In any event, it seems pretty clear that it’s not safe. Even if it can be made safe at a 30 MPH speed difference, it won’t be at a higher speed difference.… Read more »
Pushmi-Pullyu
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Pushmi-Pullyu

Update:

Just now, Googling [“tesla motors club” + autopilot], I quickly found a post which included:

“I brought up Elon mentioning sensor suite 2. This person confirmed that more sensors are needed for autonomous driving.”

That would explain it, then. The diagram in the article above likely shows the rear/side sensing distance for sensor suite 1; presumably sensor suite 2 has longer range sensors on the sides and rear.

Michael Will
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Michael Will

So current model s with autopilot tech package have suite 2 ? How about model x, do they have something more advanced than current model s?

Pushmi-Pullyu
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Pushmi-Pullyu

Michael Will asked:

“So current model s with autopilot tech package have suite 2 ? How about model x, do they have something more advanced than current model s?”

Well, all we can do is speculate.

I’ll speculate that the Model X will have sensor suite 2.0 from the start, but that the only Model S’s with that sensor suite are ones which had them specially installed for beta testing purposes.

Tesla has established a practice of installing hardware in production cars before announcing the upgrade, and then turning the hardware on with one of their wireless software upgrades. If Tesla has done this with sensor suite 2.0, then it may be installing them in new Model S’s right now. But since the article seems to indicate Tesla is currently beta testing some of the so-called “Autopilot” (driver assist) features, then my guess is that Tesla is still testing sensor suite 2.0, and therefore isn’t yet installing them on the Model S production line.

Again, please note this is speculation on my part.

Jeff N
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Jeff N

The autopilot will not spontaneously change lanes by itself. It only keeps the car in the lane and slows due to speed limit changes or when the collision detection camera and/or front radar detect a car ahead is slowing.

Lane changing is only initiated by the driver who is intended to check the mirrors and look to see that the lane is clear before approving a lane change by toggling the lane change signal stalk. Any ultrasonic sensors are just used for warnings during lane changes, they aren’t being directly relied on for making safe lane changes.

Pushmi-Pullyu
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Pushmi-Pullyu

“Lane changing is only initiated by the driver… approving a lane change by toggling the lane change signal stalk.”

That’s right. Tesla’s label of “Autopilot” for its driver assist features is marketing hype, not reality.

So again, my question is: What purpose does this serve? I can see that looking to the future, self-driving cars will need to have the ability to make lane changes autonomously, so it’s good that Tesla is working on the technology to eventually do that. But at present, this seems to be nothing more than a gimmick… and possibly a dangerous one, if drivers get the idea that the car will watch for oncoming traffic and will override the lane change if it’s not safe.

Coilied
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Coilied

I don’t see it as a gimmick at all. If autopilot is steering for you and you want to make a lane change, what do you think happens when you grab the steering wheel and change lanes manually? Autopilot turns off, which probably means that cruise control also turns off and you start to lose speed rapidly.

I’d rather check that the lane is clear, signal the lane change and leave autopilot operating. Much less trouble.

John in AA
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John in AA

Yep.

We’ll be able to find out for ourselves soon enough, and then people can move on from making emphatic assertions based on assumptions instead of data. (Well, they COULD move on, anyway! 🙂

Trey M
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Trey M

You are looking at the ultrasonic sensors only. There are also a forward looking camera and radar (long range) sensors also in use for the Autopilot suite. These are on all the Autopilot enabled cars.
Trey

Pushmi-Pullyu
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Pushmi-Pullyu

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the radar is forward-looking only, as shown in the diagram above. Or at least, it’s that way in sensor suite 1.0.

Perhaps sensor suite 2.0 upgrades this to include side- and rear-looking radars?

John in AA
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John in AA

“Perhaps this comes with some sort of disclaimer: “Do not activate the automated lane changing feature until you have checked side and rear-view mirrors to ensure no other vehicle is approaching.””

Perhaps? No. Definitely. This is exactly how the feature was announced. I realize it’s the Internet and I should know better, but I still find it baffling when people are willing to pontificate about something without doing even the most cursory self-education about the facts.

ThombdBhomb
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ThombdBhomb

“As all experienced drivers know, occasionally on the highway one encounters “speed demons” who are driving at over 100 MPH…”

I’m an experienced driver. It is exceedingly rare that I have seen someone driving over 100 MPH.

Pushmi-Pullyu
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Pushmi-Pullyu

Yes, but any “autopilot” feature, even one as limited as this, which is intended for use on public roads, must include the ability to deal with “edge cases” including speed demons.

ThombdBhomb
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ThombdBhomb

I agree that 100 MPH speeds are worthy considerations, I just haven’t seen those speeds on California roads more than a few times in 40 years of driving.

Your presumed sensor suite 2 capabilities change your original math results and subsequent conclusions anyway. I’m sure autopilot designers account for excessive speed differences.

Pushmi-Pullyu
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Pushmi-Pullyu
ThombdBhomb said: “I agree that 100 MPH speeds are worthy considerations, I just haven’t seen those speeds on California roads more than a few times in 40 years of driving.” I wish I could say the same for driving on the highways in Kansas and Missouri. “Your presumed sensor suite 2 capabilities change your original math results and subsequent conclusions anyway.” That’s right. Perhaps I should have stated that explicitly. “I’m sure autopilot designers account for excessive speed differences.” Tesla hasn’t admitted it, but the available evidence points pretty strongly to Tesla not accounting for great speed differences in the original version of Autopilot. That seems to be why the Model S’s automated lane changing feature has, to date, only been publicly demonstrated on “closed courses” such as the airport tarmac where Tesla’s original announcement was made. Never on a public road, and never where another car could be approaching from behind during a lane change. As I said, if Tesla is now allowing testing of automated lane changing on public roads, then it looks to me like there has been a significant change. But again, that’s speculation on my part. An upgrade of the sensor suite for beta testers… Read more »
Mikael
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Mikael

And I see a few everytime I’m on a freeway. Sometimes I am that one, even thoguh I prefer a pretty modest cruising speed of about 140 km/h (87 mph).

I guess it depends on where you are and which highways that are close.

Joshua Burstyn
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Joshua Burstyn

Modest speed of 140km/h? On many highways in Ontario you would receive a fine of 10,000 and endure a roadside seizure of your vehicle.

Mikael
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Mikael

Exactly why I wrote that it depends on where you are. One place’s modest cruising speed is another ones get heavy fine or do that and you’ll be dead soon speed.

Michael Will
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Michael Will

And in Germany driving 110mph is actually quite common for modern cars. It’s not 1980 any more.

Foo
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Foo

Burnin’ up all the gas!

wavelet
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wavelet

Not that common.

Normal speed limits are 50km/h in built-up areas, 100km/h (~62mph) outside.

On non-Autobahn highways (the majority), the limit is usually 120 km/h (75mph), and is reduced when nearing junctions/interchanges or cities.

Only the Autobahns, and only ~50% of them, in rural stretches without on/off ramps, have no limit. As soon as you approach an exit/entry/settled area, it usually goes down to 110km/h (~70mph).

The unlimited Autobahn stretches are the only places where you’ll encounter anyone doing 110mph (176km/h).

A significant % of vehicles on the road aren’t even capable of cruising at that speed (real speed, not what the speedo says).

Also, there is very little tolerance for speeding. In most of the world, the police will give you 10-15km/h grace; in Germany, you’ll get ticketed at 3km/h above the limit, and fines are hefty.

Roy LeMeur
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As long as not-quite-sane individuals are sharing the roadways with others, there isn’t going to be _anything_ human or machine that can _absolutely_ prevent any and all possible accident scenarios from occurring and it is unreasonable to have such an expectation.

In the not-so-distant future, when individuals literally may not be allowed to legally pilot their own vehicle in the vicinity of other vehicles, then I can see the likelihood of accidents (and traffic congestion) becoming close to non-existent.

I recall reading a science fiction story in the mid 1970s about a time when cars were all self-driving and human controlled vehicles were _almost_ illegal and at the time I laughed and thought “not in my lifetime”. It is now looking like I am likely to live long enough to see that day.

ffbj
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ffbj

It seems to the case that eventually humans will not be allowed freedoms that they really can’t effectively control. Their inability to control their vehicles, either intentionally or otherwise, will lead to more controls but better outcomes.

Pushmi-Pullyu
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Pushmi-Pullyu

Roy LeMeur said:

“As long as not-quite-sane individuals are sharing the roadways with others, there isn’t going to be _anything_ human or machine that can _absolutely_ prevent any and all possible accident scenarios from occurring and it is unreasonable to have such an expectation.”

Okay, fair point.

But any “Autopilot” is still going to have to deal with cases of a car approaching at high speed from behind, even if Tesla decides to ignore the “speed demon” cases as too rare to worry about. For example, if you pull off the highway onto the shoulder and stop for some reason, then when you’re ready to pull back onto the highway, you are faced with a situation where another car may be approaching at a speed difference equal to the speed limit of the highway… or even faster, since it’s fairly common for American drivers to exceed the speed limit by as much as 10 or (in some stretches of highway) even 15 MPH. Realistically, the Autopilot needs to be able to deal with another car approaching from behind at a speed of at least 85 MPH, without even getting into the “corner cases” that Elon Musk mentioned.

Koenigsegg
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Koenigsegg

The idea of a car driving itself while im in it sounds absolutely horrible

It can drive itself by itself, but if im in the car im driving that b*tch!

Mikael
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Mikael

Amen to that. And I say the same about trains, ships and airplanes too.

They might resist at first but I never give up.

GuyMan
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GuyMan
We’ve had this discussion before, but the thought of the car driving itself sounds wonderful to me. I can’t wait for a FULLY autonomous car, I’m not really all that thrilled about “assists” – If I still have to “baby sit it”, then I might as well be driving. The time required for the driver to “re-engage” when there is a problem that the system can’t handle, is somewhat concerning to me. If it drives itself, then this much more becomes similar to a train or plane, where I sit back and sleep, and let someone (something) else be responsible for getting me from A to B – It never gets tired, it should stop gracefully, when it has some problem, etc. This will basically eliminate air travel for short hops 500 miles or less (regional airlines) – Why deal with flying, when I can get in my car at 11PM, go to sleep, and be there in the AM. That said, they are further from that then they realize, given snow, rain, the need for much more accurate and detailed GPS mapping of every road on the planet, and lots of strange boundary conditions. It’s still 15-20 years out,… Read more »
webdbbt
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webdbbt

+1

Pushmi-Pullyu
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Pushmi-Pullyu

GuyMan said:

“The time required for the driver to ‘re-engage’ when there is a problem that the system can’t handle, is somewhat concerning to me.”

I find descriptions of that situation quite worrying, too. On the positive side, Google has racked up over a million miles of its self-driving cars, and at least according to what they claim, they have never had an accident which wasn’t another driver’s fault. So perhaps the switchover from robot driver to human driver isn’t as dangerous as it sounds like.

staff
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staff

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