Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been promising some significant updates to the Autopilot program recently as owners grow increasingly more frustrated with the progress.
Now, Musk says that a new Autopilot update is ‘in final testing phase’.
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Since introducing the Autopilot 2.0 hardware suite in all its vehicles in late 2016, Tesla has been rebuilding all its Autopilot features on a new architecture powered by its own neural net and computer vision technology.
Musk admitted last year that it has been significantly more complicated than anticipated, which resulted in some significant delays.
There were also several changes in the leadership of the Autopilot program over the last year that likely contributed to the complicated transition.
Interestingly, Chris Lattner, the head of the Autopilot software team for the first half of 2017, commented on the progress of Autopilot today – saying that he is “sad” to see “little progress”:
Minutes later, though maybe unrelated since he responding to another Twitter user, Musk announced that Tesla had an Autopilot release candidate build “in the final testing phase”:
But I wouldn’t get too excited about the new release since Musk also referred to a more “feature-rich” build that isn’t reliable enough to be released just yet:
As we reported earlier this week when Tesla released its annual autonomous test program report with the California DMV, the company has been testing those more advanced features in “shadow mode” with its fleet.
Lately, Musk has been claiming that Tesla has made some great strides in the Autopilot program – going as far as claiming to have “the most advanced AI neural net of any consumer product by far.”
He teased that those updates are coming soon after validation in a Tweetstorm a few weeks ago.
Again, I wouldn’t get too excited about the new release since Musk made it sounds that a build with more features is still not ready to be released, but we will still keep an eye out for this update and compare it to the current version.
Autopilot is getting bad press again and increased scrutiny after a Model S crashed into a fire truck in California last month.
Considering that and the frustration of some owners with the progress, especially from those who purchased the ‘fully self-driving capability’ feature, the pressure is on Tesla to deliver some significant progress on Autopilot.
Of course, they can’t rush it when safety is at play, but like I have been saying for a while now, the combination of increased data collection and the new neural net system is bound to delivering some significant improvements soon.