Elon Musk promises self-driving Teslas in upcoming software update

Elon Musk promises self-driving Teslas in upcoming software update

But Tesla has shared little about how it has tested these features, Friedman said, adding that the treating of self-driving capabilities as easy software updates could have deadly results.

Musk tweeted that Tesla's Version 9, a software update that will automatically install in Tesla cars, would "begin to enable full self-driving features" and entirely fix certain issues with "Autopilot", the name for the company's package of semi-driverless features such as advanced cruise control. He said the current version of Autopilot was most focused on safety, while the August update would introduce more autonomy. Musk said the upgrade package could even enable the auto to "fly short hops. maybe".

Federal safety investigators have been looking into a series of accidents, including at least two datal ones, involving self-driving cars.

Testing of autonomous vehicles are still required to have humans in the driver seat right now, and Tesla might well point to inaction as the cause of the crash as opposed to failure of its system, though the report will not enforce the insistence autonomous vehicles are safer than human operated ones.

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"It's super messed up that a Tesla crash resulting in a broken ankle is front page news and the (approximately) 40,000 people who died in U.S. auto accidents alone in past year get nearly no coverage", Musk said last month.

The upgrade comes amid a storm of bad publicity for Tesla in recent months, after numerous crashes were linked to drivers using the Autopilot feature.

The role of Autopilot in some accidents involving Tesla vehicles has raised some controversies about the technology.

After an Uber self-driving vehicle earlier this year killed a pedestrian in Arizona, investigators said the automatic braking system had been disabled. Tesla's stock price jumped Monday by more than 4.5 percent.

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