Tesla will soon release an update for its self-driving system, CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet today.
“Major improvements to Autopilot coming with V8.0 and 8.1 software (std OTA update) primarily through advanced processing of radar signals,” he tweeted.
News of the impending update comes a little more than a month after Tesla announced it would not disable autopilot in its vehicles, despite the system being under investigation by U.S. regulators after two crashes, one of them fatal.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a probe earlier this summer to determine what role, if any, the system played in two crashes: a fatal crash May 7 involving a Tesla Model S and a July 1 crash involving a Model X.
Ohio resident Joshua Brown was killed in Williston, Florida when his Model S crashed into the side of a semi-tractor trailer that was crossing both lanes of a divided highway in front of the victim’s oncoming vehicle.
In the July 1 crash, Albert Scaglione’s Model X hit a guardrail and crossed several lanes before hitting a concrete median. Both Scaglione and his passenger, son-in-law Tim Yanke, survived the collision. Scaglione has claimed to have activated Tesla’s autopilot before the crash occurred.
Tesla has said it disables autopilot by default and explicit acknowledgement that the system is new technology and still in a public beta phase is required before it can be enabled.
Musk told The Wall Street Journal last month that education in the use of the system is key.
“A lot of people don’t understand what it is and how you turn it on,” Musk said, adding that Tesla planned to publish guidelines on how autopilot works and what drivers must do once they choose to activate the system.
Musk said he advocated for the launch of autopilot as soon as possible because “we knew we had a system that on balance would save lives.”