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Tesla starts adding features to new Autopilot cars in order to match the older version


Tesla promises that its new Autopilot hardware will enable all of its new vehicles to eventually reach level 5 autonomous driving capability, but in the meantime, they are lacking several features that have long been available in its cars equipped with the first generation Autopilot. Over the weekend, Tesla started pushing a new update to start adding those features, but new owners will have to wait a little longer for features most associated with Autopilot, like Autosteer or Traffic-aware cruise control.

Those are expected to arrive by the end of the month with version 8.1 of Tesla’s software, which should also come with several user interface improvements and an updated mobile app that will also be helpful to owners without the new Autopilot hardware.

As for the update pushed over-the-air this weekend, it added features such as Auto-dimming headlights and touchscreen, which are not really associated with Tesla’s Autopilot, but they rely on the same sensor suite to detect their environment and dim appropriately. Therefore, the feature needed to be adapted to the new sensor architecture.

Side collision warning and Speed assist have also been enabled by the new update.

Here’s a list of the features available in vehicles with Autopilot 1, but not Autopilot 2. The ones currently being pushed to new vehicles are strikethrough:

  • Auto windshield wipers
  • Auto low beam headlights
  • Auto high beam headlights
  • Auto-dimming touchscreen B instrument cluster
  • Park assist
  • Blind spot detection
  • Forward collision warning
  • Auto emergency braking
  • Side collision warning
  • Side collision avoidance
  • Lane departure warning
  • Speed assist
  • Traffic-aware cruise control
  • Autosteer
  • Auto lane change
  • Autopark
  • Summon

Again, version 8.1 is expected to bring vehicles with the second generation Autopilot hardware on par with the previous generation and further updates will start improving from there. Tesla CEO Elon Musk expects that the fully autonomous software could be ready around this time next year, but in the meantime, owners will be able to enjoy “Enhanced Autopilot” features with more accurate auto-steering and more advanced “Summon”.

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