As we previously reported, Tesla’s recently introduced a new Autopilot hardware suite, dubbed “2.5”, in all its vehicles to enable more power and redundancy for its future self-driving capability.
The new hardware has been under a ‘calibration period’, which resulted in those vehicles not having ‘automatic emergency braking’. Now we learn that Tesla started gradually rolling out the safety feature.
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Last month, Tesla said that the feature was activated in “shadow mode” in Autopilot 2.5 cars:
“During that process, Automatic Emergency Braking will temporarily be inactive and will instead be in shadow mode, which means it will register how the feature would perform if it were activated, without taking any action. This temporary calibration period is standard Tesla protocol and is done out of an abundance of caution.”
Now Electrek has learned from sources that Tesla started pushing a new software update today that activates the automatic emergency braking feature in those cars with the latest Autopilot hardware.
Under the new update, the feature will be still limited to up to 50 mph. In April, Tesla had a similar rollout for vehicles equipped with Autopilot 2.0 cars, but it was actually limited to 28 mph.
Tesla updated the feature to work at full speed two months later and the speed limit is also expected to eventually be lifted for Autopilot 2.5 cars.
The automaker describes its automatic emergency braking (AEB) system:
“Automatic Emergency Braking, a new collision Avoidance Assist feature, is designed to automatically engage the brakes to reduce the impact of an unavoidable frontal collision with another vehicle. The brakes disengage when you press hard on the accelerator pedal, release the brake pedal, or sharply turn the steering wheel.”
The AEB systems have gained in popularity with safety advocates and regulators. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said that will require the feature to be standard in all new cars in the US by 2022.
While Automatic Emergency Braking can’t prevent all accidents, it can often reduce the force of an impact by applying the brakes automatically if there’s no alternative collision avoidance strategy. A less violent impact can make an important difference and also often doesn’t require airbag deployment.
Tesla’s own AEB system has improved significantly over the past few years, especially since the introduction of Tesla’s new radar technology, which powers AEB and Tesla’s forward collision warning system.
The feature acts as a last resort solution if appropriate actions are not taken when Tesla’s forward collision warning alerts the driver. A few impressive uses of those two features have been captured on video before, like when the forward collision warning alert using Autopilot’s new radar technology predicted an accident caught on dashcam a second later.