Tesla has just announced that it has updated their Version 8 software. The most important modification they made is in its Autopilot system. This upgrade could have avoided the fatal accident that happened back in May.
Radar Becomes A Primary Control Sensor
Tesla's CEO Elon Musk wrote on the carmaker's blog that the improved onboard radar is equipped with more advanced signal processing to create a picture of the environment around the car. It had only been used as a supplementary sensor to the camera and image processing system since October 2014.
This means that the radar is now the primary control sensor. It will be used in a way that it won't require the camera to confirm visual image recognition.
Radar uses radio waves to detect objects. It produces electromagnetic waves that will be used to ascertain the properties of the object. Musk explained that the problem of radar is when it causes unnecessary alarms.
He cited a situation where a discarded soda can on the road will appear many times as large. The reflected signal amplified by dish-shaped objects with metal surfaces has also been a problem.
How Will It Work?
He pointed out that drivers don't need to slam the brakes on those instances. The radar should be able to determine the definite property of an object. They were able to address the problems by having a more detailed point cloud and an assembled radar snapshots. Another solution is the complicated mapping and database comparison.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Tesla will take advantage of the vehicles' ability to communicate with one other. They will have to work together on their understanding of road conditions. Regardless of the visibility conditions, the system will allow the car to hit the brake even when a UFO is on the road.
Perfect Safety Is Not Assured
According to the USA Today, Musk warned that the enhanced autopilot system will not ensure perfect safety. He added that the drivers are still ultimately responsible. They need to stay attentive and not ignore the alarms. Otherwise, the autopilot system will cease to work. The car has to be stopped and restarted for the system to function again.
He insists that the new changes in the system will make it safer. In fact, he thinks that it is going to be great.