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Tesla cautiously addresses upcoming Autopilot 2.0 software update

Tesla has been working on Autopilot 2.0 software for a year now almost to the day and some owners think that they have not shown enough progress. That’s why it wasn’t surprising to see the first question during a recent Q&A session with Tesla’s President of Sales and Service, Jon McNeill, being about Autopilot 2.0.

In his response, the executive cautiously addressed an upcoming update which he tested himself.

McNeill was in Amsterdam on Monday for a ‘Tesla Owner social’ event at their European headquarters. During his presentation, he made a few interesting comments, like revealing that Tesla is launching new all-electric service vehicles based on Model S and Model X next year.

After the presentation, he held a short Q&A session and the first question was “when will Autopilot 2.0 cars have feature parity with cars equipped with the first generation Autopilot?”

While Tesla has introduced the main Autopilot features, Autosteer, TACC, AEB, and Summon, to Autopilot 2.0 vehicles, there are still a few features relying on Autopilot sensors, like automatic wipers, that are not available and some owners argue whether the first or second generation is more reliable for the main features.

McNeill answered:

“Writing software for the new [Autopilot 2.0] hardware stack has been challenging, but we have some really great progress to reveal to you over the current quarter.”

The executive then revealed that he tested himself new software builds and he was very impressed by them. He reiterated that Tesla is being cautious about what it is pushing to customers and that what he tested is going to be operating in “shadow mode” in customer vehicles for “millions of miles” before being activated.

Fortunately for owners, Tesla’s entire fleet drives millions of miles every day, therefore they should be able to accumulate good simulated miles quickly.

McNeill hinted that new “functionalities”, hopefully meaning ‘Enhanced Autopilot features’, will arrive in the next “weeks or months.”

Update: A Tesla spokesperson sent us the following statement clarifying McNeill’s comments:

“We’re working super hard on new features, and rapid progress is definitely being made. We are continuing to refine our existing features and will be rolling out new features as soon as they’re validated. We’re grateful for everyone’s patience.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk also commented on some unreleased Autopilot 2.0 software earlier this summer:

“As a side note, we’re also making great progress on our internal Autopilot software. It’s getting better and better. I’m really, really excited. I test drive the latest development release as soon as it comes out, and I’m like, this is really getting to be something special. Because, yes, I think it’s going to accelerate from here. And the talent that we’re seeing drawing on the technical side for Autopilot is really world class. It’s unmatched anywhere, I would say.”

Hopefully, we do start to see some of those updates soon. A few months ago, Tesla increased its Autopilot data-gathering effort and Musk said that they are focusing on their neural net and computer vision technologies to improve Autopilot 2.0.

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