Tesla Founder and CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter Saturday that the automaker was rolling out its newest autopilot software update to all Hardware 2 cars, which includes all cars manufactured since October 2016. This update brings some features, such as autosteer and autopark, which are already available in Hardware 1 cars, to the HW2 cars. This particular update will not go out to any HW1 cars, though. Musk announced this enhanced autopilot system at the beginning of January, and with this most recent update, all Tesla HW2 cars will be capable of operating autonomously in a range of conditions, thanks to a combination of cameras and ultrasonic sensors that detect the cars’ surroundings.
The update came out last week, but remained in non-actuating mode until Tesla could assess the system’s reliability, and now all HW2 cars have the enhanced autopilot enabled. Musk urges drivers to stay cautious and alert, though, since the update is new. He also notes that some cars will need to have manual adjustments performed by Tesla.
When asked on Twitter whether the update would be available for HW1 cars, Musk explained that this would not be done, due to the differences in hardware.
“If we applied resources to doing super complex retrofits, our pace of innovation would drop dramatically,” he later tweeted.
This is just the most recent of a number of Enhanced Autopilot announcements Musk has made this month. He’s been updating the public with incremental advances ever since his January 8 announcement that the update would only become active in 1,000 cars at first, with the rest operating in a diagnostic “shadow mode.” The non-actuating mode took that a step further, and with this latest advance, HW2 cars will be more capable than before.
So what’s next? By the end of 2017, Tesla hopes to achieve full autonomy in its fleet, with the cars operating without any human intervention.Photos via Getty Images / Joe Raedle