Elon Musk says ‘profound’ Autopilot update will roll out to Teslas soon

During Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting before its Battery Day event on Tuesday, CEO Elon Musk said the company’s cars would soon get a redesigned version of its Autopilot feature.

Teslas have had the Autopilot feature for a while, but improvements started to plateau a couple of years ago, Musk said. “We had to do a fundamental rewrite of the entire autopilot software stack and all of the labeling software as well,” he said. Instead of using still images from the cars’ eight cameras, Tesla is now labeling 3D video.

By pulling from all cameras simultaneously, the video captures how images change over time, making for more accurate labeling of objects. Musk called the difference “profound.”

“We’re confident that, over time, we can get the probability of an accident — especially the probability of an injury — to 10 times better than the industry average,” Musk said. “That’s just a lot of lives saved and a lot of injuries avoided, so that’s just a huge priority for us.”

The “private beta” version of the new Autopilot will roll out later this month, according to Musk.

Despite the name, Autopilot doesn’t let the car completely take over driving. The feature may adjust speed or tweak the steering, but it’s not a chauffeur. Drivers are still supposed to keep their hands on the wheel and stay alert to road conditions.

Autopilot misuse by Tesla drivers has led to some fatal crashes.

In the past, the Musk said the Tesla Model 3 had “the lowest probability” of injury the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had ever tested. The agency called these claims misleading.

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