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Tesla To Launch Autopilot 8.0 In July

By Victor Thomson , Jul 05, 2016 05:47 AM EDT
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Tesla will release in July the Autopilot 8.0 highly-anticipated software update.

Details of the new release were previously reported by Electrek and elsewhere, but the timing of the upgrade will certainly draw now some public attention. Last week was reported a May 7 fatality involving a Tesla Model S that was running on Autopilot. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is now investigating the recent crash resulting in the death of 40-year-old Joshua Brown.

According to IT Web, analysts expect that the fatality in a car with autopilot activated will not stop the development of autonomous driving technology. In the next few weeks, Autopilot 8.0 is expected to download to approximately 80,000 Tesla vehicles. The software update will strengthen some features and will also add some new ones.

According to Digital Trends, tech analysts consider the new software as a major update. However, Autopilot 8.0 will still remain basically a hands-on-the-wheel assisted driving program. On a moment's notice, drivers will still need to be able to take over control of the vehicle.

The results of Florida law enforcement's investigation of the fatal accident involving the Tesla Model S that was running on Autopilot and a preliminary investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are expected to be made available soon. For the moment, there are plenty of contradictory stories about the speed at which the car was moving and whether Joshua Brown was watching a Harry Potter film on a portable DVD player at the moment of the crash.

Tesla's Elon Musk has stated that the Mobileye technology is only part of Autopilot's sensor system and Tesla autopilot supplier Mobileye has declared that its system in the 2015 Model S only looks forward. The side sensors could have detected the truck but the system may have confused it with a highway sign because of its plain white surface and height. The circumstances of the crash are still unclear, but what is certain is that the driver did not prevent the accident, not did the autonomous system.

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