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A month after its release, Tesla Model S drivers are already reporting noticeable progress in the car’s autopilot capabilities.
When Tesla begin releasing its semi-autonomous “Autopilot” last month, CEO Elon Musk announced that each vehicle would collect data and send it to the network. This information would then be used to improve the software and driver experience.
It’s a “fleet learning technology,” Musk explained. “Essentially the network of vehicles is going to be constantly learning. As we release the software and more people enable autopilot, the information of how to drive is uploaded to the network. So each car, each driver is effectively an expert trainer in how the autopilot should work.”
Some Model S drivers have already started seeing this progress. On a forum for Tesla owners, one Model S 85D owner noted how autopilot is learning to follow the highway more accurately with a clearer understanding of what an exit is.
“The first day when I was in the right lane, as I approached exit ramps, it would dive for the exit ramp,” the owner said. “I quickly learned to apply torque to the wheel to hold the car on the interstate until I had passed the exit. Each day the system seems to have less tendency to follow the exit ramps as I pass.
“The last two days it only gave a momentary wiggle and moved over maybe six inches towards the exit ramp then it recovered and moved on down the road.
“This morning it gave only a very slight hesitation, so little that I did not have to correct it at all. I find it remarkable that it is improving this rapidly.”
Musk noted that this type of ongoing learned improvements are only available with connected vehicles such as the Model S. Because of this, he added, autopilot will continue to get better and better.
“The capability will [keep improving over time] both from a standpoint of all the extra drivers doing approximately a million miles a day of travel and training but also in terms of the software functionality,” said Musk.