Tesla has released details for its upcoming Full Self-Driving beta update, which will expand the software’s features and address some of the safety concerns revealed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
At present, the company has two driver assistance packages: Autopilot, which monitors and responds to the traffic environment, and Full Self-Driving, which can navigate and drive the vehicle to the user’s destination. Both tiers require drivers to retain control over their vehicle, and, despite their names, neither offer a truly autonomous experience. Tesla’s FSD beta was originally limited to smaller roads and urban environments, preventing its use on high traffic, multi-lane roads. However, by merging the software with components of the Autopilot platform, drivers can now enable FSD on the highway.
The update will also improve various systems in the FSD beta, such as automatic braking, lane changing and object detection. Some of these upgrades seem to address safety concerns highlighted by the NHTSA earlier this year. The agency noted that Tesla’s driver assistance software could cause vehicles to “exceed speed limits or travel through intersections in an unlawful or unpredictable manner…” As a result, Tesla was forced to recall 362,000 units starting last week. The brand’s leadership, however, has maintained that the term “recall” is inaccurate, since these issues could be resolved through a software update. It is unclear whether regulatory pressure resulted in these safety improvements, or if the company had intended to implement them before government intervention.
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