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Is Tesla Autopilot Safe?

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Published on Jul 9, 2019

Looking at data from Tesla we can tease out hints as to whether the Autopilot system is really safe or not. Join our community on Patreon and get backstage access - https://teslanomics.co/patreon

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// What is Tesla Autopilot?
Tesla Autopilot is an advanced driver-assistance system feature offered by Tesla that has lane centering, adaptive cruise control, self-parking, the ability to automatically change lanes, and the ability to summon the car to and from a garage or parking spot.

As an upgrade to the base Autopilot's capabilities, the company's stated intent is to offer full self-driving (FSD) at a future time, acknowledging that legal, regulatory, and technical hurdles must be overcome to achieve this goal.[4]

Autopilot was first offered on October 9, 2014, for Tesla Model S, followed by the Model X upon its release.[5] Autopilot was included within a "Tech Package" option. At that time Autopilot features included semi-autonomous drive and parking capabilities.[6][7][8] Initial versions of Autopilot were developed in partnership with Israeli company Mobileye.[9] Tesla and Mobileye ended their partnership in July 2016.[10][11]

Software enabling Autopilot for the first time for customers was released in mid-October 2015 as part of Tesla's version 7.0.[12] Software version 7.1 then removed some features to discourage customers from engaging in risky behavior and added Summon remote parking technology that can move the car forward and back without a driver in the car.[13][14][15]

On August 31, 2016, Elon Musk announced Autopilot 8.0, which processes radar signals to create a coarse point cloud similar to Lidar to help navigate in low visibility, and even to 'see' in front of the car ahead.[16][17] Autopilot version 8 uses radar as the primary sensor instead of the camera.[18] In November 2016, Autopilot 8.0 was updated to have a more noticeable signal to the driver that it is engaged and it requires drivers to touch the steering wheel more frequently.[19][20] By November 2016, Autopilot had operated actively on hardware version 1 vehicles for 300 million miles (500 million km) and 1.3 billion miles (2 billion km) in shadow mode.[21]

In October 2016, Tesla said all vehicles came with the necessary sensing and computing hardware, known as Hardware version 2 (HW2), for future full self driving.[22] Tesla started to use the term "Enhanced Autopilot" to refer to hardware 2 capabilities over hardware 1. Enhanced Autopilot has the following abilities: automatically change lanes without requiring driver input, transition from one freeway to another, exit the freeway when your destination is near and more.[23]

Autopilot for HW2 cars came in February 2017. It included adaptive cruise control, autosteer on divided highways, autosteer on 'local roads’ up to a speed of 35 mph or a specified number of mph over the local speed limit to a maximum of 45 mph.[24] Firmware version 8.1 for HW2 arrived in June 2017 adding a new driving-assist algorithm, full-speed braking and handling parallel and perpendicular parking.[25] Later releases offered smoother lane-keeping and less jerky acceleration and deceleration.

HW 2.5 was released in July 2017, appearing in cars built from August 2017.[26]

In April 2019, Tesla started releasing an update to Navigate on Autopilot, which does not require lane change confirmation, but does require the driver to have hands on the steering wheel.[27] The car will navigate freeway interchanges on its own, but driver needs to supervise. The ability is available to those who have purchased Enhanced Autopilot or Full Self-Driving Capability.

// Sources
IdiotRunsRed - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5fT2...

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