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Tesla nerfs Autopilot in Europe due to new regulations

Tesla is starting to push a new software update that is pulling back some Autopilot features in most European markets due to new regulations.

Last year, the European Union adopted a revision to their UN/ECE R79 regulation, which oversees the steering of driver assistance systems.

Automakers are having to deploy their driver assist systems within the new regulation, which can be limiting for the more advanced systems, like Tesla’s Autopilot.

Tesla’s Autopilot on Model X and Model S was already approved under the previous set of regulations, but they now have to walk back some functionalities in order to comply.

The changes are starting to get push to Model S and Model X vehicles in a new 2019.16.1 software update.

Tesla wrote in the release notes:

“Due to new local regulations, the limit of how far the steering wheel can turn while Autosteer is active has been adjusted. This may reduce Autosteer’s ability to complete sharp turns.

Additionally, to initiate Auto Lane Change, the turn signal must be engaged to the first detent (held partially up or down) and the lane change must start within 5 seconds of engaging the turn signal.”

We reached out to Tesla regarding the update and the automaker confirmed that it was in order to make Autopilot on Model S and Model X compliant with UN/ECE R79.

When Tesla launched the Model 3 in Europe a few months ago, Autopilot wasn’t available for people taking delivery during the first few weeks.

Tesla told Electrek that they made sure Autopilot on Model 3 was compliant from the start.

Electrek’s Take

Some Model 3 owners in Europe, especially those who previously owned a Model S or Model X with Autopilot, have complained that Autosteer is more limiting, especially off highways.

Now it sounds like Tesla has to do the same to Model S and Model X vehicles.

Surprisingly, they are doing retroactively through software updates even the previous versions were approved by regulators.

Tesla could potentially request an exemption by proving that its system is safe beyond the limitations of the regulations, but it looks like owners are losing capabilities in the meantime unless they don’t accept the software update.

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