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// Tesla Autopilot Program (wikipedia)
Tesla Autopilot, later marketed as Enhanced Autopilot after a second hardware version started to be shipped, is an advanced driver-assistance system feature offered by Tesla that has lane centering, adaptive cruise control, self-parking, ability to automatically change lanes without requiring driver steering, and enables the car to be summoned to and from a garage or parking spot. Planned improvements to Enhanced Autopilot include transitioning from one freeway to another and exiting the freeway when the user’s destination is near.
As an upgrade above and beyond Enhanced Autopilot’s capabilities, the company’s stated intent is to offer full self-driving at a future time, acknowledging that legal, regulatory, and technical hurdles must be overcome to achieve this goal.
As of February 2018, Tesla indicates that a demonstration of a self driving coast to coast drive will be ready in about six months, which has been delayed from an initial goal of end of 2017
Autopilot was first offered on October 9, 2014, for Tesla Model S, followed by the Model X upon its release. Autopilot was included within a “Tech Package” option. At that time Autopilot features included semi-autonomous drive and parking capabilities. Initial versions of Autopilot were developed in partnership with Israeli company Mobileye. Tesla and Mobileye ended their partnership in July 2016.
In October 2015, Tesla released Autopilot version 7.0 to its customers. Autopilot Firmware 7.1 then removed some self-driving features to discourage customers from engaging in risky behavior and added Summon remote parking technology that can move the car forward and back without a driver in the car.
On August 31, 2016, Elon Musk announced Autopilot 8.0, which processes radar signals to create a coarse point cloud similar to Lidar to help navigate in low visibility, and even to ‘see’ in front of the car ahead. Autopilot version 8 uses radar as the primary sensor instead of the camera. In November 2016, Autopilot 8.0 was updated to have a more noticeable signal to the driver that it is engaged and it requires drivers to touch the steering wheel more frequently. By November 2016, Autopilot had operated actively on hardware version 1 vehicles for 300 million miles (500 million km) and 1.3 billion miles (2 billion km) in shadow mode.
In October 2016, Tesla said all vehicles came with the necessary sensing and computing hardware, known as Hardware version 2 (HW2), for future fully autonomous operation (SAE Level 5).
Autopilot for HW2 cars came in February 2017. It included adaptive cruise control, autosteer on divided highways, autosteer on ‘local roads’ up to a speed of 35 mph or a specified number of mph over the local speed limit to a maximum of 45 mph. Firmware version 8.1 for HW2 arrived in June 2017 adding a new driving-assist algorithm, full-speed braking and handling parallel and perpendicular parking. Later releases offered smoother lane-keeping and less jerky acceleration and deceleration.
HW 2.5 was released in July 2017, appearing in cars built from August 2017.