Tech

Tesla Redesigns Its Autopilot System To Improve Safety

By Victor Thomson , Jul 18, 2016 05:10 AM EDT

Tesla Motors is looking for ways to improve in its Autopilot partial self-driving system that might have been a cause in a series of recent crashes, including a fatal accident.

According to USA Today, CEO Elon Musk posted on Twitter Sunday that that the German auto supplier Bosch, the maker of the radar for the Autopilot system, can make "significant improvements" to Tesla's electric cars' safety software via wireless updates. Musk also said that another supplier, sensor maker Mobileye can also help Tesla Motors to make the system better.

Tesla's Autopilot semi-autonomous driving system allows drivers of its electric vehicles to automatically keep the car in its highway lane and to maintain their speed relative to other highway traffic. However, the company has warned drivers that they must keep their hands on the wheel, stay alert and in control.

Since an Ohio owner, Joshua Brown, died while his Model S has being driven under Autopilot, Tesla has come under pressure. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board opened investigations to look into the safety of the system.

U.S. Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, asked Musk in a letter on Thursday, July 14, for detailed information regarding the safety of the Autopilot system. Critics have even called on Tesla Motors to disconnect its Autopilot system.

In response to all these critics, Musk declared in his tweets that he stands behind Autopilot. He also asked the critics to direct all their criticism at Tesla Motors, instead of blaming the suppliers.

According to Fortune, Tesla is looking to add to its radar system some more robust computer modeling  such as "point cloud" technology that allows detecting motion from a series of images or 3D models. Associated Press reports that changes to the radar system could help Tesla's Autopilot partial self-driving system to "see" more effectively in bright sunlight, snow and rain. 

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