The story of a Tesla Model S crashing into the back of a trailer while the ‘summon’ feature of the Autopilot was activated has been making the headlines since last week. Tesla placed the blame with the driver, but now the automaker pushes an update to its fleet to add a step to the Summon feature that could potentially have prevented the accident. Expand Expanding Close
Google/Alphabet published its self-driving car report for March over the weekend, and besides of course the latest numbers (including the number of cars in each city, the total number of autonomous and manual driven miles, etc.), there are also some new details on the system the company uses to map the cars’ surroundings, and mention of a mundane accident that happened in Austin, Texas involving one of the company’s Lexus vehicles…
According to a report over the weekend from Crain’s Detroit Business, Google/Alphabet is seeking an R&D site for its self-driving cars near Ann Arbor, Michigan. This report comes as FCC documents last month revealed that the Mountain View company was planning to bring the cars to four new cities. Kirkland, Washington officially became one of those locations two weeks ago, and as we noted, a location near Ann Arbor makes perfect sense to be one of the next bunch… Expand Expanding Close
Consumer Reports has been testing Tesla’s latest ‘Autopilot’ update (v7.1) since its unveiling last month and especially the new feature called ‘Summon’, which allows Tesla owners to remotely move their vehicle without anyone in it. Expand Expanding Close
Google has been releasing monthly reports about its self-driving car program for quite some time now, and now December’s report has hit the interwebs. This report was delayed due to the holidays (they usually hit around the 1st of the month), and it also just so happens to be one of the most bare-bones we’ve seen so far. The company does note what they’re doing to combat the rain in California (say what?), though…
The Model S owners reporting on forums having received the update with new Autopilot restrictions have quickly removed their posts. We now learn through sources with knowledge of matter that Tesla started testing the new version 7.1 of its software with a select group of Model S owners this week.
The new update includes UI improvements, a new self-parking feature, ‘Driver Mode’ and Autopilot restrictions. Expand Expanding Close
Google publishes a report for its self-driving car project once a month, and today — appropriately — the company published the report for November. Today’s report is notably unexciting, but it does mean the end of a two-month streak of the cars being accident-free. That said, the accident that Google details in this report is barely an accident…
Once again, Google wasn’t at fault in yet another fender-bender:
A vehicle approaching from behind came to a stop and then rolled forward and collided with the rear bumper of the Google AV. The approximate speed of the other vehicle at the time of impact was 4 MPH. The speed of the Google AV at the time of impact was below 1 MPH.
Other than this minor accident, which bumps the total number of accidents the cars have been involved in to 17, there’s not much new here. The cars have now driven a total of 1,320,755 autonomous miles, and 955,771 manual miles. The total number of Lexus cars on the road is the same, but there are now 30 prototypes out and about.
You can read the full report for yourself at Google’s website.
Some parts of Google’s self-driving car are still mysterious, but slowly more pieces of that mystery are being uncovered. One mystery, in particular, has been the inside of the car. While Google has allowed dozens of journalists, random lucky souls, and Google employees (of course) to ride in the car, only on very few occasions have we been able to see the inside. The company specifically told journalists not to take pictures of the inside at an event earlier this year, and we barely got a glimpse into a very early prototype in Google’s “A First Drive” video last summer. Now, with a couple of patents Google has received, we’re getting a more detailed look inside for the first time… Expand Expanding Close
In our series of exclusive articles about Tesla’s beta Autopilot and v7.0 software update, we described in details its capabilities and functions, but we couldn’t publish any pictures or videos of the systems in action in order to protect our sources.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter Saturday night that his company will release its software v7.0 with Autopilot for the Model S on Thursday (October 15th). In mid-August Tesla sent out the first release of the beta update to about 600-700 early access testers all around the U.S. and parts of Europe. This particular update is an extremely anticipated one. It includes an important UI design overhaul, but also and more importantly several new ‘Autopilot’ features, which some Model S owners have been waiting for over a year now. Expand Expanding Close
Taken at face value, the Tesla Roadster 340-mile trip from San Jose to Santa Monica in California is a significant milestone. The direct drive in under 6 hours all without refueling will leave most EV owners’ mouths agape. There was even 40 minutes with the heater turned on and that huge climb (and subsequent decent) out of the Grapevine.
As we announced in December, the Roadster 3.0 upgrade will feature enhancements in battery cell technology, aerodynamics, and rolling resistance. These modifications should boost the Roadster’s range by 40 to 50%.
But I think this is bigger. This shows what the technologies Tesla has developed mean for the next generation of EVs. It means the Model X, even with its higher profile and expanded room, will be able to still handily be able to make it between Superchargers in the winter. Even more importantly, it shows that Tesla can make a BMW 3-series sized car go 200 miles with a lot less battery that previously expected.
If the new pack in the Roadster has 70kWh and goes 400 miles, doing a little math and guesswork, you only need about 45kWh to get a slightly bigger car to go 200 miles. (Assuming the car lies between the 35kWh and the 60kWh for the Model S with 200 mile range).
And that’s assuming technology stands still between now and then.