The update – Tesla Version 8.0 – is coming in 1-2 weeks, Musk told reporters on Sunday.
With Tesla’s Autopilot 8.0 update, the electric automaker’s autonomous driving systems now place greater reliance on radar, rather than on cameras as it has done before. Tesla CEO wanted to underline the fact that flawless safety is impossible to obtain, but the Tesla’s efforts are made to increase the probability of higher safety.
Joshua Brown was driving the Tesla Model S when the vehicle ran into the side of a semi-truck, killing him. In the accident, an OH man was killed when his Model S auto into Autopilot mode crashed into a tractor-trailer.
“The most significant upgrade to Autopilot will be the use of more advanced signal processing to create a picture of the world using the onboard radar”, explains Elon Musk in a blog post.
There is no evidence that either Brown or the Autopilot system noticed the white side of the trailer truck against a bright sky and the brakes were never applied.
Overall, the new measures should result in the vehicle hitting the brakes appropriately “even if a UFO were to land on the freeway in zero visibility conditions”, Tesla said.
Musk thinks that the Autopilot improvements will significantly increase the safety of passengers, though he added that road accidents will likely not be gone for good.
The company has had big problems trying to overcome the challenges posed by using radar in such a localised way, due to the odd ways the technology reacts to different objects and shapes. “There won’t ever be zero fatalities, there won’t ever be zero injuries”, he said. Now, however, the company is looking to use it as the “primary control sensor without requiring the camera to confirm visual image recognition”.
Musk has also added that the new update will allow the vehicle to brake automatically when it believes it will collide with an object it doesn’t recognise. For example, a road sign might look like a collision course to the vehicle’s radar. The radar transmitter receiver is placed at the centre on the lower grill, implying that the vehicle in front of a Tesla auto require being “very very low” to block signals.