Tesla Autopilot launch delayed in Europe and Asia

When Tesla launched its Autopilot-enabling software update last week, CEO Elon Musk said he hoped the autonomous-driving tech would be made available in Europe and Asia this week. But that apparently isn’t happening.

“Autopilot release to Europe and Asia pending regulatory approval,” Musk tweeted on Sunday. “Hopefully get the OK in the next few weeks.” It’s unclear what specific regulatory issues are holding things up, but if Tesla really can get things resolved in the next few weeks, that would be a fairly quick turnaround.

Since Tesla is delaying the launch of Autopilot in both Europe and Asia, it’s possible that multiple issues in specific countries could be causing problems. That would seem to be something Tesla should have dealt with before announcing a provisional launch date, but it’s also possible that officials surprised the company with last-minute issues.

At any rate, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time that Tesla missed one of its own deadlines. Back in March, Musk said Autopilot would become available in June, and Tesla has been building cars with the hardware for the system since last year. The company has a history about being unrealistic about deadlines, and has missed its own targets for the launches of every new car model so far.

Nonetheless, the U.S. Autopilot seems to be proceeding on schedule. Launched with the Tesla 7.0 software update for the Model S and Model X, it includes multiple features that allow cars to take over some control from humans. That includes Autosteer, which automatically keeps a car centered in its lane, plus Automatic Emergency Steering, Side Collision Warning, Autopark, and Auto Lane Change.

Autopilot functionality is being distributed through an over-the-air software update, but can only be used on cars built with the necessary suite of cameras and sensors. That includes Model S sedans built since approximately late 2014, and all Model X crossovers. Any owner of one of these vehicles can enable the system by simply updating software, but cars without the hardware cannot be upgraded.


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