Drive Wire for September 12, 2016: Tesla Debuts its 2nd Generation of AutoPilot, the Tesla AutoPilot 8

Slow in, fast out. Tesla's AutoPilot 8 will use fleet learning for “curve speed adaptation.”

In a conference call with journalists yesterday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk discussed the Autopilot 8, the second generation of Tesla’s controversial semi-Autonomous Driving suite. First, Tesla is doubling down on Autopilot’s reliance on radar. Most compititors, like Mercedes and Volvo, use LIDAR systems in their autonomous driving packages. Musk has long bristled at the suggestion that Autopilot requires anything but Radar, and he claims that Version 8’s significant improvements in signal processing would allow allow for radar-only braking. Second, Fleet Learning is the key. Right now, tesla is the only manufacturer with fully networked cars. Every Tesla shares its sensor data and driving history with the Tesla cloud, and—according to Musk today—the lessons are shared back to the community of Tesla owners in real-time. Version 8 will will now use fleet learning to for "curve speed adaptation,” meaning Autopilot will slow down before entering turns and then accelerate out. Considering the number of single-car accidents occur involving curve speed, this is a big deal for Autonomous Driving and safety in general. The Autopilot update is still a couple weeks weeks away. Stay tuned to thedrive.com for more info