Tesla Motors is getting ready to launch a revised Autopilot safety alert designed to get through to experienced drivers ignoring previous alerts.
Electrek has just learned that the electric carmaker’s upcoming v8.0 software update will come along with a new safety restriction to anticipate drivers blatantly bypassing agreed-upon safety protocols. Autopilot has conditions of operation drivers must agree to, and those that ignore several Autopilot security alerts are expected to be blocked from reengaging the feature.
Tesla is tapping into data from around 200 million miles driven on Autopilot. Vehicle logs from recent Autopilot collisions has implied that drivers ignoring initial warnings may have been the real cause of the problem.
In the Model X accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the automated abort procedure was initiated 11 seconds prior to the crash. In a similar incident with a Model X last month in Montana, the driver had ignored several alerts prior to the accident, Tesla said.
In the current version of Autopilot, drivers who fail to respond to 15 seconds of visual warnings and audio tones will have Autosteer will take over. Music is muted, the vehicle slows down, and the driver is told visually and audibly to place their hands on the wheel, according to Tesla.
According to sources familiar with the matter, Autopilot will ultimately be disengaged after alerts are repeatedly ignored, and the driver will be stopped from re-engaging the system after it was automatically disengaged. The driver will not be able to reactivate the Autopilot until the car is stopped and put in ‘Park’.
Until the software upgrade is released, details won’t be spelled out. For now, it looks like only the Autosteer function will be affected, and Traffic Aware Cruise Control (TACC) will still be active.
Tesla has been working hard at overhauling Autopilot with a series of improvements in v8.0. These will include a new off-ramp feature and other perks to be announced soon.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk gave a quick preview of the v8.0 launch during the press conference last week on the new P100D battery pack. While refusing to answer questions on Autopilot, he did leak more information on the upgrade:
“One thing I should say though is that with version 8 of the software, which is hopefully going to final review right now, there will be material improvements in the autonomy of the car,” Musk said. “I think the amount of work that has been going into version 8.0 will be very noticeable. The improvements will on several dimensions, but that’s only a software update so it will be applicable to all cars.”