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Tesla autopilot feature gets international regulatory approvals, Japan imminent

Published: October 27, 2015 | Palo Alto, CA        

At the launch of its latest Autopilot features, Tesla CEO Elon Musk noted that it would roll out the new vehicle capabilities to nations outside the United States once it got regulatory approval. Musk has tweeted that the company has gotten approval from all those countries (except Japan). Now Tesla owners around the world can enjoy the slightly unnerving feeling of letting their Model S drive itself on the highway. Musk also announced that Autopilot 1.01 would be coming soon with improved fleet learning, better lane tracking on poor roads, curved speed adoption and controller smoothness. 

Tesla’s semi-autonomous driving feature, Autosteer is still in the beta stage. Drivers are encouraged to keep their hands on the wheel while the car navigates the road and traffic. If the system gets confused or detects a section of road it can’t navigate it will inform the driver to take over driving duties.

The improved fleet learning shipping with the Autopilot update should help solve some of the issues the system has with roads with faded markers. As Model S drivers navigate over a problem portion of road, they are mapping it and their lane position.

In a follow-up tweet, Musk said an update, called Autopilot 1.01, would be coming soon and include “curve speed adaption, controller smoothness, better lane holding on poor roads, improved fleet learning”. The new software will arrive as an over-the-air update, delivered via each Model S’s 3G internet connection.

When asked if Autopilot hardware could be installed in older Model S vehicles, Musk said the amount of physical change needed was “enormous – like a spinal cord transplant, would cost less and work better with a new car”.

The system takes control of the accelerator, brakes and steering on multi-lane roads like motorways, using the lane markers and surrounding traffic to stay in the right position and avoid accidents. Tesla says the software is still being developed and will be improved upon as it is used; it is currently a beta version and drivers have been advised to be alert with the steering wheel, and be ready to take control in case something goes wrong.

Source: Tesla, Engadget

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