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Tesla promises ‘series of new Autopilot features in 2018’, still plans coast-to-coast drive

After Tesla Autopilot had a difficult year with several delays for the release of features under the new hardware suite, Tesla is now promising those features in 2018 – along with the delayed fully self-driving demonstration.

Tesla wrote in its shareholders letter today:

“The upcoming autonomous coast-to-coast drive will showcase a major leap forward for our self-driving technology. Additionally, an extensive overhaul of the underlying architecture of our software has now been completed, which has enabled a step-change improvement in the collection and analysis of data and fundamentally enhanced its machine learning capabilities. Our neural net, which expands as our customer fleet grows, is able to collect and analyze more high-quality data than ever before, enabling us to rollout a series of new Autopilot features in 2018 and beyond.”

Those “new Autopilot features” have been known as “Enhanced Autopilot features”, like ‘On-ramp to Off-ramp’, which would enable what sounds like level 3 autonomous driving on the highway.

Other features include Autosteer+ and Smart Summon, which are better versions of Tesla’s existing Autopilot features.

Those features are currently sold for $5,000 and were supposed to be released through software updates in 2017.

The “autonomous coast-to-coast drive” was also supposed to happen last year and showcase the ‘Fully Self-Driving Capability’ of Tesla’s Autopilot 2.0, which is a $3,000 feature sold on top of the “Enhanced Autopilot features.”

Update: During a conference call following the earnings, Musk said that they could currently achieve a coast-to-coast drive, but they would have to create custom code to “game” a route instead of a general level 4 or 5 autonomous system.

He expects the real ‘Fully Self-Driving Capability’ to be demonstrated and released in the next “3 to 6 months.”

Last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that a new Tesla Autopilot update is ‘in final testing phase’ and it should be pushed to the fleet soon, but that’s not expected to include new features, like mentioned in the shareholders letter today.

Electrek’s Take

Again shown in this letter, Tesla has really been pushing the narrative of the combination of the increased data collection and the new neural net system resulting in upcoming major improvements.

It makes a lot of sense to me, but it has become an “I’ll believe it when I see it” thing after all the delays in the Autopilot program. So let see it Tesla!

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