Tesla has begun its roll out of the highly anticipated Autopilot feature to a select group of Model S beta testers, according to the latest report from engineering media outlet, IEEE Spectrum.
The Autopilot update augments the existing Model S TACC and driver’s assistance system with Tesla’s new Autosteer functionality.
Almost ready to release highway autosteer and parallel autopark software update
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 31, 2015
Elon Musk has always said that Autopilot and Autosteer are there to assist drivers, by taking care of routine tasks, but not to replace them. Drivers will be required to touch the turn signal control occasionally to indicate they are still attentive and actively monitoring their journey.
"We don't want to set the expectation that you can basically pay no attention to what the car is doing," Musk said in a conference call last week. He also indicated the system was particularly at home when tracking a lead vehicle.
“You basically have high confidence in steering, braking and acceleration, basically when you are in some kind of traffic situation where there is a car right in front of you,” he said. “I think it's pretty good in the absence of that, so if there's just lanes, it's pretty good. And it will get better over time as we refine the software.”
Tesla beta testers are a tight lipped group, mostly because being selected is a coveted privilege. It is widely believed talking about the experience is the best way to become a former beta tester. But that won't stop press from trying to pry some information loose during the testing.
In particular, the IEEE Spectrum has let it be known that they are anxious to talk to any Tesla owner that can provide evidence that they're part of the Autopilot beta testing group. Any takers?