Tesla CEO Elon Musk says that the automaker is starting the wide release of its highly anticipated version 9 software update ‘now’, but they are pulling ‘Navigate on Autopilot, which is arguably the most important feature as part of the update.

Yesterday, Musk said that Tesla expanded its early access to the version 9 update and that it is ‘almost ready’.

Now it sounds like they changed their strategy and they are releasing version 9 right away, but it won’t come with the new ‘Navigate on Autopilot’ feature.

Tesla described the feature in the release notes:

“Our newest Autopilot convenience feature, designed to get you to your destination more efficiently by guiding your car on and off the highway. Navigate on Autopilot intelligently suggests lane changes to keep you on your route in addition to making adjustments so you don’t get stuck behind slow cars or trucks.

When Navigate on Autopilot is active, a single blue line indicates the path ahead, keeping your car in the lane. Gray lines highlight lane changes for a more efficient driving route. Navigate on Autopilot will also automatically steer toward and take the correct highway interchanges and exits based on your destination.

You can enable Navigate on Autopilot by going to Controls > Autopilot and first enabling Autosteer. For each route where Navigate on Autopilot is available, you have the option of enabling the feature by pressing the button located in the Navigation Turn List.”

It basically allows Autopilot to automatically overtake cars on the highway and take exits and interchanges.

You can watch Tesla’s new Navigate on Autopilot feature in v9 at work in some videos here.

In early releases, the driver had the option to let the system automatically do the lane changes or make it check with the driver first by pulling on the turn signal to initiate them.

Sources familiar with version 9 development told Electrek that Tesla ended up only allowing the driver to initiate the lane changes in other early access updates.

Now Musk tweeted about the rollout of the feature early this morning:

While Navigate on Autopilot appears to still be a few weeks out, owners should be able to enjoy the new user interface in version 9 and a few new features that come with it.

You can check out our previous report to know all the Tesla Version 9.0 features based on your Model 3, Model S, or Model X generation.

Electrek’s Take

Safety first. It makes sense to let owners enjoy the rest of version 9, which is already late, while Tesla puts the final touches to the new Autopilot features.

What I find most surprising about Elon’s tweet is that he appears to be referring to Navigate on Autopilot as “self-driving”, which doesn’t seem right. Based on what we have seen so far, drivers are still completely responsible and you get the same requirement to keep your hands on the wheel and apply torque sporadically.

My understanding is that Navigate on Autopilot is another Enhanced Autopilot feature and not part of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Capability package.

Though I would like for Tesla to make the whole situation clearer. I’d expect it will come with the rollout of the new feature.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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