Tesla started pushing a new ‘more seamless’ version of its Navigate on Autopilot feature without lane change confirmation to its wider fleet.
Navigate on Autopilot was supposed to be in the first release of Tesla’s v9 software update, but they decided to pull it for further validation.
The feature was supposed to enable on-ramp to off-ramp driving on the highway with the system doing all its own lane changes based on speed and the destination entered in the navigation system.
As we reported last year, Tesla started releasing the feature in its 2018.42 software update, but it doesn’t automatically perform the lane changes. Navigate on Autopilot suggests the lane changes and the driver still needs to initiate them with the blinker stall.
Last month, Tesla pushed a new version of the feature to its early access program that didn’t require drivers to confirm the lane changes — bringing the driver assist system one step closer to autonomous highway driving.
Today, Tesla said that it started pushing the updated version to the wider fleet after “more than 66 million miles” of data for the original version and more than half a million miles of the new version without lane change confirmation as part of the early access program.
The automaker released a blog post about the new Navigate on Autopilot:
Introducing a More Seamless Navigate on Autopilot
April 3, 2019
Since we first introduced Navigate on Autopilot last year, Tesla drivers have traveled more than 66 million miles using the feature, and more than 9 million suggested lane changes have been successfully executed with the feature in use. We’ve heard from our customers that it makes road trips and highway driving more relaxing, enjoyable and fun, and gives them an easy way to follow their car’s navigation guidance when traveling on an unfamiliar route.
Today, we’re beginning to roll out our latest version of Navigate on Autopilot for a more seamless active guidance experience. In this new version, drivers will now have the option to use Navigate on Autopilot without having to confirm lane changes via the turn stalk. Here’s how it works:
In the Autopilot settings menu, a driver can press the Customize Navigate on Autopilot button which will now display three additional settings – Enable at Start of Every Trip, Require Lane Change Confirmation, and Lane Change Notification. Through the Enable at Start of Every Trip setting, Navigate on Autopilot can be set to automatically turn on each time a driver enters a navigation route. Once enabled, anytime a driver is on a highway and uses Autopilot with a location plugged into the navigation bar, the feature will be on by default. If a driver selects ‘No’ to Require Lane Change Confirmation, lane changes will happen automatically, without requiring a driver to confirm them first. Drivers can elect to get notified about an upcoming lane change by receiving an audible chime as well as a default visual prompt. Additionally, all cars made after August 2017 will also have the option to have their steering wheel vibrate for the alert as well.
Each of these notifications are meant to provide drivers with the opportunity to check their surroundings and determine whether they want to cancel the lane change before it’s made. Cancellations can be made by moving the car’s turn signal or by pressing the lane change cancellation pop-up notification on the car’s touchscreen. This feature does not make a car autonomous, and lane changes will only be made when a driver’s hands are detected on the wheel. As has always been the case, until truly driverless cars are validated and approved by regulators, drivers are responsible for and must remain in control of their car at all times.
Through our internal testing and Early Access Program, more than half a million miles have already been driven with the lane change confirmation turned off. Our team consistently reviews data from instances when drivers took over while the feature has been in use, and has found that when used properly both versions of Navigate on Autopilot offer comparable levels of safety. We’ve also heard overwhelmingly from drivers in our Early Access Program that they like using the feature for road trips and during their daily commutes, and we’re excited to release the option to the rest of the Tesla family.
These new settings will be available to customers who have purchased Enhanced Autopilot or Full Self-Driving Capability. They will begin to roll out today via an over-the-air software update to customers in the U.S., and will be introduced in other markets in the future pending validation and regulatory approval.
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