TESLA Motors has improved its autopilot system to disable automatic steering if drivers do not keep their hands on the wheel. The software update also adds multiple features, including improved radar and voice commands.
There is also a temperature control system that helps prevent children and pets from overheating. Tesla has started moving the update to Model X SUV and Model S sedan owners over the internet.
The autopilot system, which was unveiled last autumn, uses cameras and radar to maintain a set speed, brake automatically and change lanes without the driver’s input. Drivers can keep their hands off the wheel for minutes at a time.
Critics questioned whether the system was ready to be on the road this summer after a driver using the autopilot was killed when his Model S sedan struck a tractor-trailer in the US state of Florida.
Tesla says the software update should help avoid crashes, since it will enhance the radar system and make vehicles rely more on radar signals. The new radar system can see through snow, bright sun and other weather conditions better.
The company also redesigned its indicator lights to show more clearly when the autopilot is engaged. If drivers ignore three warnings to place their hands on the wheel, the automatic steering will be disabled and will not resume until the car is parked.
A Chinese online security team, meanwhile, hacked into a Tesla Model S to demonstrate that someone could take control of the luxury electric car.
(This article is published on Junior Standard on 28 September 2016)
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