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Is Tesla Autopilot 2.0 coming soon?

Tesla will be updating its Autopilot driving assistant in the near future to make it safer and more reliable, according to a report in Techno Buffalo.

Speaking to the tech website, ‘a source close to Tesla’ who wants to remain anonymous says the new system is currently being tested on prototype Model S and Model X cars and that it features two front-facing cameras.

“The dual camera system is capable of recognising and reacting to stop signs with no driver input,” the source said, indicating Autopilot 2.0 will be another significant step towards full autonomy.

The fact the system would need two cameras means it would take more than overnight update to enhance current cars. The question, then, is when will new Model S cars come with Autopilot 2.0 and will the cheaper Model 3 have it as standard too?

Although autonomous driving systems are said to be the answer to our road safety woes, there is a long way to go before humans are made redundant. Google’s self-driving cars have, for example, been involved in numerous prangs and crashes.

Then there is Tesla itself, which saw owner Joshua Brown die while using the Autopilot system of a Model S. His hands were off the steering wheel at the time when a truck reportedly crossed over into oncoming traffic.

In an official statement, Tesla denied being at fault: “To be clear, this accident was the result of a semi-tractor trailer crossing both lanes of a divided highway in front of an oncoming car. Whether driven under manual or assisted mode, this presented a challenging and unexpected emergency braking scenario for the driver to respond to.

“In the moments leading up to the collision, there is no evidence to suggest that Autopilot was not operating as designed and as described to users: specifically, as a driver assistance system that maintains a vehicle’s position in lane and adjusts the vehicle’s speed to match surrounding traffic.”

Shares in Tesla have actually increased since the incident, suggesting it has weathered the storm of criticism, although the news has been somewhat overshadowed by the fact Elon Musk is said to have sold more than US$2billion in shares before the news of a death was announced.

The Tesla Model 3 is expected to arrive in 2018 and has been pre-ordered more than 400,000 times. Prices will start from US$35,000 before extras.

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