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Published: Sep 22, 2016 2 min read
Tesla Motors Inc. Tests Self-Driving Technology
An employee drives a Tesla Motors Inc. Model S electric automobile, equipped with Autopilot hardware and software, hands-free on a highway.
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tesla's revamped autopilot software is available for download.

"Autopilot 8.0" -- which is delivered via an over-the-air update to drivers who own one of Tesla's Model S or Model X cars -- features radar and autopilot capabilities that can see two cars ahead. Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter yesterday to announce the "gradual" roll out:


Drivers can download it by pushing a button on their car's touchscreen informing them that it is available. About 140,000 cars have the feature, Wired reports.

The updates follow a fatal May crash that raised questions about autopilot's safety. The current autopilot system, which uses cameras, radar and sensors to steer vehicles and set their speed, couldn't distinguish a truck’s white trailer from the sky, and failed to break. Driver Joshua Brown is the first known person to die with the autopilot system engaged.

Earlier this month, Musk told reporters that the new autopilot will make his company's vehicles among the safest on the road, and may have prevented the May accident.

The changes to the system include:

  • Onboard radar to give the vehicles a better view of the road, traffic and obstacles;
  • Autopilot that can see two cars ahead, so vehicles will react faster when there is sudden braking;
  • Auto-steer that navigates highway interchanges;
  • Enhanced warnings that keep drivers engaged. If drivers ignore repeated warnings, the software will disable Autosteer until drivers stop and re-engage the system.