New customers of Model S and Model X are still not receiving driver assist features.
Work on the next generation “full self-driving hardware” from Tesla continues, but customers taking delivery of a brand new Model S or Model X today are not getting driver assist features on par with the first generation Autopilot. But that’s about to change very soon, as Elon Musk has revealed through his Twitter channel that the promised features of the so-called Enhanced Autopilot will be added when the 8.1 version of the company’s operating system arrives through an over-the-air update. Musk says this will happen in “about three weeks” from now and the updates will be released incrementally with monthly updates.
“Enhanced Autopilot adds these new capabilities to the Tesla Autopilot driving experience,” Tesla explains. “Your Tesla will match speed to traffic conditions, keep within a lane, automatically change lanes without requiring driver input, transition from one freeway to another, exit the freeway when your destination is near, self-park when near a parking spot and be summoned to and from your garage.”
The automaker says the Level 5 autonomy will be ready by the end of next year. The software is currently being extensively tested and improved under the Tesla Vision image processing architecture. The hardware is actually already designed and created, and uses 12 ultrasonic sensors plus eight cameras. A recent video shows the system is very close to perfection, but still gets flummoxed by some untraditional situations.
Tesla wants to make its cars “substantially safer than a human driver” and will start equipping them with the new and improved sensors. Very soon, they will be able to make fully-autonomous trips, and the manufacturer is going to demonstrate the system's capabilities with a journey from coast to coast with no driver input next year.
Earlier this year Musk explained that when Level 5 autonomy arrives, the driver sitting behind the wheel of a fully-autonomous Tesla is “only there for legal reasons,” as “he is not doing anything” and “the car is driving itself.” Not only that, but the system will provide “a view of the world that a driver alone cannot access, seeing in every direction simultaneously and on wavelengths that go far beyond the human senses.”