Shares of Tesla rose as much as 5 per cent on Monday after Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk tweeted that its Autopilot driver assistance system will get full self-driving features following a software upgrade in August. To date, Autopilot resources have rightly focused entirely on safety.
At the moment, Autopilot is limited to Level 2 automation.
Media coverage of the most recent crash triggered a weekslong Twitter crusade against the press by Musk, who argued that coverage of Autopilot-linked wrecks ignored the larger fact that such features were already safer than unassisted driving.
Musk said that the autopilot issue during lane-merging is better in the current software and would be fully fixed in the August update.
It's not clear which features will arrive first, but Tesla says its full self-driving will allow the vehicle to figure out routes, navigate streets without lane markings, manage intersections with traffic lights, stop signs, and roundabouts, and handle highways.
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In another fatal accident a year ago, Tesla's Autopilot failed to detect a truck crossing the road, but investigators pointed out the driver was watching a movie at the time and not paying attention with the semi-autonomous system in operation.
At the unveiling event, Musk had revealed a list of extraordinarily impressive specifications for the automaker's upcoming supercar, saying that it would boast a range of 620 miles, and will have the ability to accelerate from 0-60 mph in barely 1.9 seconds.
The tweet said that the new v9 update would "enable full self-driving features", which does not necessarily mean that Tesla will be able to operate autonomously. "It is not possible to know exactly when each element of the functionality described above will be available, as this is highly dependent on local regulatory approval". Also with the Model Y SUV in the pipeline, the new Roadster has been slated for 2020.
The company is counting on Model 3 sales to help it reach profitability.