Tesla’s big new software update is out now. CEO Elon Musk announced on Friday that version nine is available in wider release now, following weeks of limited beta trials. Unfortunately, one of the biggest features spotted during the testing stage has been held back to iron out the kinks.
The update was expected to include “Navigate on Autopilot,” a promising upgrade to the semi-autonomous driving mode that takes a big step to the dream of autonomous driving. Where current Autopilot implementations can drive along a road in limited circumstances, the feature was intended to add a higher degree of autonomy by changing lanes and exiting at the correct moment, depending on the destination set into the central display unit. Simply enter the destination, press the big blue button, and hold onto the wheel as the Autopilot moves along the route. This was present in the test versions, but has now been held back for further tests. Musk noted that it’s “extremely difficult to achieve a general solution for self-driving that works well everywhere.”
It’s not the first time that Tesla has pushed back its autonomy timetable. Musk originally promised in October 2016 that its vehicles would drive coast-to-coast autonomously by the end of 2017. Musk reiterated in January 2017 that the first full autonomy features would start rolling out in three to six months. Musk said again in February 2018 that coast-to-coast drives would arrive in three to six months. In August, he said that the feature would require a new in-house A.I. chip, scheduled to start shipping in four to six months.
While autonomous driving may be proving a harder task than anticipated, the update makes a number of welcome changes elsewhere in the vehicle. The Model S and X now feature a similar user interface to the Model 3, while the Model 3 now sports apps like calendar and web browser. The cars also feature a series of Atari games.
The “Navigate on Autopilot” feature may return in a future update, with Musk teasing that the V10 Alpha version of Autopilot may offer the first signs of coast-to-coast autonomous driving.