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Tesla Starts Testing New Autopilot Features with Customers

By on August 24, 2015

Tesla continues to cement its reputation as the most innovative car company around. This week, Tesla announced that the brand’s newest self-driving features won’t be reserved just for in-house testing; instead, Tesla will allow certain owners of Tesla’s Model S vehicle to beta test the new autopilot technology on their personal cars. With a new software update, Tesla has improved greatly upon its previous autopilot features, and the new technology will be available for Model S owners to start using on the roads immediately.

However, this doesn’t mean that there will be a bunch of Tesla Model S’s driving themselves around America’s roads. Tesla has implemented the technology on a limited basis for beta testing, giving select customers extra autonomous assistance, but not allowing the cars to run without any driver intervention. This will allow Tesla to make sure the new features are working as intended, while still allowing drivers to take back complete control at any point.

The new autopilot features include an impressive array of autonomous technology, which suffice as the building blocks for Tesla’s dream of fully self-driving vehicles. With this new system, drivers can enjoy extras that help with everything from staying in the correct lane, to keeping an appropriate distance from other drivers, to timing acceleration and braking more precisely. This technology should help to reduce accidents and improve driving efficiency for both Model S drivers and the vehicles around them on the road.

Before drivers get carried away with letting their car do all the work, though, the autopilot system will make sure the driver is paying attention by requiring them to use turn signals to make turns and switch lanes. Accordingly, a driver will have to be engaged and alert, even while the autopilot features control much of the experience. Tesla’s aim isn’t to eliminate drivers completely; rather, they want to make driving safer and more simplistic.

Of course, this is just beta testing, and these features are not ubiquitous yet. However, if Tesla’s new technology works as anticipated, we may see the company roll out even more innovations in autonomous vehicles in the next few years.

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