Tesla’s march to full autonomy just took another step forward. The company has just announced they’re ready to deploy an upgraded ‘Navigate on Autopilot’.
The new version has spent time in internal testing and Tesla’s Early Access Program, and having already accrued more than half a million miles, with the lane change confirmation turned off.
With your destination entered into the nav system, the car can overtake other vehicles, completing lane changes without requiring the driver to move the indicator stalk. Importantly, the car’s indicators will still activate.
The update gives owners the option to disable the confirmation step before lane changing. You will have to keep your hands on the wheel, but it’s easy to see we’re on a trajectory where that won’t be required.
Here’s the details from Tesla.
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.
In terms of when we’ll see this feature in Australia, it may take some time..
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.
More information on tesla.com