Tesla is making sure to “iron out the details” before releasing its latest software update to all cars. CEO Elon Musk explained on Tuesday that Autopilot version nine, which has rolled out to a limited number of users, still requires some finessing before the company can roll out to a wider audience.
The new update brings a number of welcome features to the Model S, X and 3, including a “navigate on Autopilot” feature that can move the car off at the right exit depending on the inputted destination. It’s not full autonomy, as Autopilot still requires the driver to remain attentive, but it bodes well for Musk’s suggestion that coast-to-coast autonomous driving could arrive with an alpha version of the following software update. Version nine also brings the Model 3’s user interface design to the S and X, while also bringing apps like Calendar, Energy and Web Browser to the Model 3.
Safety is a key concern for the team, so while the update started rolling out to early testers last week, it makes sense that Musk is acting cautious with this release. Musk said in the August earnings call that the team is “focused on fundamental safety of the existing features.” Vice president of engineering Stuart Bowers said in the same call that “the challenge right now for the team is just increasing the safety and utility of Autopilot to over 250,000 cars we have today and pushing more out after that.”
The new Autopilot system, introduced in October 2016, is designed to support full autonomous driving at a later date. The semi-autonomous mode uses four of the car’s eight cameras to navigate in limited circumstances. While full autonomy has yet to reach consumers, it’s expected to double the number of active cameras to reach a level of autonomy at least twice as good as a human driver.
Tesla’s version nine update, the next step on this trip, is expected to roll out further soon.