Elon Musk says details on Tesla's Autopilot improvements coming Sunday

Elon Musk says details on Tesla's Autopilot improvements coming Sunday - LA Times

Apologizing for delays and an "unusually difficult couple of weeks," Elon Musk tweeted Saturday that he finally will provide more details about promised updates to Tesla's Autopilot program.

The Tesla CEO said he will do an hourlong Q&A with reporters, then publish information about Autopilot on Sunday to the company's blog.

Musk had said on Aug. 31 that "major improvements" to Autopilot were coming and would be announced that day. But the next morning, a SpaceX rocket exploded in a fireball on the launch pad, putting the announcement on hold. Musk is the chief executive of both Tesla and SpaceX.

Most analysts who follow Tesla say the company is likely to add more radars and cameras to Autopilot in addition to a software upgrade.



The upgraded system "will have to be smarter and more capable of recognizing its surroundings," Karl Brauer, an analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said in a previous interview with The Times.

The improvements come ahead of guidance on regulating autonomous vehicles expected from the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration in coming weeks.

The Palo Alto-company also has come under scrutiny after several Autopilot-related crashes, including a fatal collision in Florida in May when a Tesla Model S sedan hit http://pdxpax.org/four-awesome-tips-about-wayne-lippman-from-unlikely-sources/ a big rig, killing the car's driver.

The system apparently failed to distinguish between the white big rig and the bright sky behind it.

The NHTSA is investigating the crash.

The Autopilot feature includes machine steering, collision avoidance, assisted lane changing and adaptive cruise control. On a well-marked highway, the car can nearly drive itself, although the human driver is expected to remain alert and take over the controls when necessary. The system periodically warns drivers to put their hands on the steering wheel, and the car will slow and eventually stop if they don't.

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