As Tesla gears up to launch its Autopilot 2.0 suite of driver assistance technologies, company CEO, Elon Musk, has taken to Twitter to announce major Autopilot improvements are due with forthcoming software upgrades.
The software that drives the Autopilot system, the next version of which will wear the V8.0 tag, is expected to include upgrades to some of the Autopilot systems already impressive semi-autonomous driving function.
In his tweet Musk also mentions V8.1 software (see below), a somewhat unusual step that could indicate that while V8.0 will extend the system’s capabilities, its V8.1 that will then network those systems for autonomous operation.
Major improvements to Autopilot coming with V8.0 and 8.1 software (std OTA update) primarily through advanced processing of radar signals— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 31, 2016
The upgraded capabilities will form part of what’s known as ‘level 4’ autonomy, which does not require any input from a driver, from pulling out of a parking space to entering a freeway, in all but the most severe weather conditions.
Tesla’s current Autopilot system sits between levels 2 and 3, capable of controlling the steering, accelerator, and brake in a variety of conditions, including lane changes when instructed to do so, but still requiring full driver attention to assist in some situations.
As well as the new software industry rumors have speculated that Autopilot 2.0 capable cars will feature additional sensors at the front and corners of the car, allowing the vehicle a greater level of ‘awareness’ of its surroundings and other road users.
Already the updated Model S sedan features a new front-facing triple-camera, designed to increase the accuracy and field of vision of Tesla’s optical monitoring.
Confirmation of the new system won’t take too long, with Musk confirming that the Tesla website will publish the details in a detailed post later today.