Tesla's latest over-the-air update for Autopilot enhances audio and visual warnings to keep the driver focused at all times.
In recent months, there have been several accidents involving Tesla cars that had the Autopilot function turned on at the moment of the crash. Vehicle logs published by the EV manufacturer have shown that in most cases the accidents were the result of driver negligence, with the person behind the wheel ignoring the warnings prompted by the Autopilot. Tesla has decided to enforce more visual alerts on the digital instrument cluster and combine these with three dual audio beeps as a move to convince the driver to remain focused at all times.
With the recently introduced Autopilot v8.0, the semi-autonomous driving system will automatically disengage if the drivers will ignore the three sets of beeps and won’t place their hands onto the steering wheel. Autopilot will not only automatically shut off, but it will also remain inactive until the driver will put the car into park mode. The ban will be removed once the driver is going to put the vehicle back into drive.
As demonstrated in the video above, the dash will show the “Please Keep Your Hands on the Wheel. Be Prepared to Take Over at Any Time” message when engaging Autopilot for the first time. Later in the clip, the borders of the screen start flashing, and the “Hold Steering Wheel” message pops up. Should the driver ignore this second visual warning, those three beeps we’ve mentioned before are going to be sent through the car’s speakers and then the following message will appear on the instrument cluster: “Autosteer Unavailable for the Rest of this Drive. Hold Steering Wheel to Drive Manually.”
These new audio and video alerts come to reduce the likelihood of those post-crash situations in which drivers decide to put the blame on Autopilot following an accident that had more to do with the fact they were not paying attention to the road. After all, Autopilot is far from being perfect and has its limits, so we really shouldn’t be putting our lives in its hands.