tesla autopilot

Elon Musk says testing of Tesla’s autopilot technology in complex situations such as intersections and roundabouts is well underway, bringing the EV and self-driving carmaker one step closer to true autonomous driving.

The carmaker recently launched its semi-autonomous feature “Navigate on Autopilot”, which assists drivers with lane changes and highway off-ramps and interchanges.

Musk said on Twitter this morning (AEDT) that every owner of a Tesla car that was built over the course of the past two years should try it – “it will blow your mind”.

The Tesla CEO went on to say that the next step towards full self-driving capability involved the ability to successfully navigate roundabouts, intersections and traffic lights – and that once the Autopilot software can do this safely, Tesla cars will be able to drive commuters to work without the need for human input.

The high-end abilities of Navigate on Autopilot have been made possible by Tesla’s own AI chip that the carmaker has been developing in order to overcome latency issues.

Musk and his team – including former Apple hardware architect Peter Bannon – spoke at some length at the Q2 earnings call in August 2018 about the AI chip. Musk went so far as to call it “super kick-ass“.

While the thought of being able to sit back and focus on other things while your car gets you to work is pretty attractive, the carmaker emphasises that for now, drivers will need to keep their eyes on the road.

Regarding the feature on its website, the automaker said:

While initially the feature will require drivers to confirm lane changes using the turn stalk before the car moves into an adjacent lane, future versions of Navigate on Autopilot will allow customers to waive the confirmation requirement if they choose to.

In both of these scenarios, until truly driverless cars are validated and approved by regulators, drivers are responsible for and must remain in control of their car at all times.

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