Tesla’s next major Autopilot update is almost here. CEO Elon Musk revealed on Wednesday that the ninth version of the electric car company’s semi-autonomous driving software, previously expected to reach consumers by the start of this month, will now take around another month to hit the road.
The news came in response to a fan Twitter question regarding the status of the update. The update was announced for an August launch back in June, complete with the first signs of fully-autonomous driving as first promised with Tesla’s October 2016 switch to the “Hardware 2” platform. The update is also set to improve the user interface, as well as a new on-ramp, off-ramp autonomous capability. Musk replied that he’s “running it in my car, but it’s not right yet. Hopefully, will release to advanced early access users in a week or two, then more broadly towards end of month.”
Autopilot has been gradually improving past its original MobilEye-based design. Tesla brought development of future autonomous driving software in-house with the October 2016 launch of its new vehicles, which contained an Nvidia Drive PX 2 for processing and the necessary cameras and sensors for full point-to-point driving at a later date. The Autopilot system has already undertaken over 1.2 billion autonomous miles, but full autonomy could push that figure even further.
Musk explained in the August earnings call that the Autopilot team is currently focused on “fundamental safety of the existing features.” That means version nine will cover new features while laying the groundwork for future autonomy. Vice president of engineering Stuart Bowers explained in the call that the on-ramp-off-ramp feature would “automatically attempt to change lanes, understand what lane the car is in, understand the route the user wants to travel and take that route for the user and ultimately hand back control to that user,” a key component of full self-driving.
Musk previously claimed that the A.I. chip that will power full autonomy, a drop-in replacement for the Drive PX 2, should start shipping by the end of the year.
It’s not just autonomy features on the way with version nine. Musk also revealed the update will include a number of Atari games.