Tesla Motors introduced an autopilot feature in the fall that allows drivers to let go of the steering wheel in some traffic conditions, but the company restricted that feature on Saturday after some drivers uploaded Internet videos of themselves using it dangerously.
"Drivers posted dozens of videos of themselves doing unsafe things, such as getting into the rear seat while the car was operating or reading a book," The Wall Street Journal reported
Alarmed by this behavior, Tesla has now disabled the feature on residential streets and roads without a center divider. Additionally, the autopilot will not be able to exceed the speed limit by more than 5 miles per hour. The software update applies to Tesla's Model S and Model X.
Tesla's autopilot feature uses four feedback modules — including cameras, radar, ultrasonics, and GPS — to enable automated steering, acceleration, and deceleration in both stop-and-go-traffic as well as highway driving. It also enabled the car to parallel park itself.
If the driver wants to disable autopilot at anytime during the drive, all they have to do is touch the steering wheel.
Upon making the new software update, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the autopilot features "is probably better than human at this point in highway driving."
"It’s certainly better than human at staying in the center of the lane [and] if it isn’t better than human yet, it will be in the coming months," he said, hedging a bit.
Along with the update, Musk also announced a new automated feature called "Summon."
"Within two years you’ll be able to summon your car from across the country," Musk said on Sunday, Forbes reported
"So, let’s say, if you’re in New York and your car is in Los Angeles, it will find its way to you," based on your smartphone location, he said.
For now, however, Summon can be used to park a car at home.
"Using Summon, once you arrive home and exit Model S or Model X, you can prompt it to do the rest: open your garage door, enter your garage, park itself, and shut down," the company wrote in a blog post
"In the morning, you wake up, walk out the front door, and summon your car. It will open the garage door and come to greet you. More broadly, Summon also eliminates the burden of having to squeeze in and out of tight parking spots."
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