Tesla to Roll Out Software with Self-Driving Focus

Elon Musk made a surprise unveiling back in November 2017 when he presented the new Roadster. — Reuters pic

"With V9, we will begin to enable full self-driving features", Musk tweeted here on Sunday, replying to a Twitter user.

The latest software update, which started to roll out last week, features a new feature that will increase the number of warnings it gives drivers to take control of the auto. The features will be available for Autopilot 2.0 vehicles.

All of this functionality is "dependent upon extensive software validation and regulatory approval, which may vary widely by jurisdiction".

Version 9 is the first full update of the software since version 8 was released in 2016. It's unlikely that version 9 will make the cars completely autonomous-at least not yet-but it could allow for better self-driving capabilities in certain situations.

The system has come under scrutiny recently after a number of crashes being reported with the system active, the most prolific of which, resulting in a fatality when it was purportedly enabled. Previous updates to Autopilot were "rightly focused entirely on safety", he said.

While Tesla is selling a full self-driving package, that does not mean that consumers will be able to use it immediately.

Several Tesla crashes have, according to both the company and government investigators, been caused by drivers placing too much faith in Autopilot, taking their hands off the steering wheel and their eyes off the road.

The company is counting on Model 3 sales to help it reach profitability.

"The software update is good news", said analyst Chaim Siegel from Elazar Advisors, adding the stock was still benefiting from last week's prediction by Musk that it would finally hit its production target for its Model 3 sedan.

Autopilot in its current form is a driver-assistance system that still requires the driver to pay attention and be ready to take control of the steering wheel.

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