Tesla has begun sending over-the-air software updates enabling the Model S vehicles, equipped with the right hardware, to access their self-driving capabilities, according to a corporate blog post. Tesla’s Autopilot software relies on forward radar, forward-looking camera, 12 long-range ultrasonic sensors (set to sense 16 feet around the car in every direction at all speeds) and a high-precision digitally-controlled electric assist braking systems. Tesla’s version 7.0 software release uses those tools as well as existing active safety features to offer “the only fully integrated autopilot system,” the company says. Tesla's fully integrated autopilot system use four different feedback modules (camera, radar, ultrasonics and GPS) to provide real-time data feedback from the company's fleet for continually system improvement. Specifically, Tesla’s Autopilot system will allow the Model S to steer within a lane, change lanes and manage speed using “active, traffic-aware cruise control” as well as parallel park, after scanning for a parking space.
In its blog post, the company says, “Tesla Autopilot relieves drivers of the most tedious and potentially dangerous aspects of road travel. We're building Autopilot to give you more confidence behind the wheel, increase your safety on the road and make highway driving more enjoyable. While truly driverless cars are still a few years away, Tesla Autopilot functions like the systems that airplane pilots use when conditions are clear. The driver is still responsible for, and ultimately in control of the car. What's more, you always have intuitive access to the information your car is using to inform its actions.”
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