The much awaited Tesla Software update to Version 9.0 might still take a few more weeks to come, based on Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s recent tweet about ironing out the details.
Tesla Autopilot team is awesome! Got to make sure we iron out the details though. Long tail of tricky edge cases. Important to get front wide angle, B pillar & side repeater camera neural nets just right.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 2, 2018
At least three beta versions were known to be tested over the past week or so, but Musk has been more specific in this week’s tweet. The neural networks that process camera inputs must get it right every time, not just in standard scenarios. We assume that’s what he’s referring to as the ‘edge cases’, where a typical lane change might be complicated by other parameters such as a fast-approaching car in the destination lane or some other potential obstruction.
Tesla is known for stretching timelines, but that’s understandable when you’re on the bleeding edge of technology. A complex feature like Enhanced Autopilot (EAP) would normally require months of beta testing before all the kinks are ironed out, but Tesla has a massive database of information from its growing fleet that makes it slightly easier. No other company has that kind of advantage – getting customers to provide crucial real-world data to develop self-driving capabilities. But even with this massive bank of information, Tesla has to test out literally thousands of scenarios. Case in point is the fact that a simple thing (you’d think) like automatic lane changes is delaying the release of the 9.0 software update.
As we’ve mentioned in the past, EAP is not the same as FSD, or full self-driving capability. That’s still two years away (optimistically), possibly more, and we could see Version 10.0 sporting a comprehensive FSD kit.
There will come a time when fully autonomous Tesla EVs will be standard, but for now the company is treating it as a paid upgrade with an undisclosed release date. Once hardware 3.0 is out next year, we may see some aggressive movement on the software side as well. Those enhancements will likely be introduced in a series of 9.x iterations before the 10.0 Big Bang comes.
When can we expect the Tesla Software update to Version 9.0 to drop?
It should be a matter of a few weeks at the most, judging by Musk’s tweet. Right now it seems like they’re in one of the final beta versions, so a public release is imminent. I’d hazard a guess for sometime within the next fortnight unless something unforeseen causes further delays. For now, we wait.
In the meantime, why not watch this video of the “Mad Max Mode” for aggressive, automated lane changes?