Tesla has ignited a firestorm of criticism from owners after a recent leak submitted to us by a tipster of beta Firmware 7.1 shows an updated Autopilot system with restrictions. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has previously discussed rolling out a revised Autopilot that would prevent people from doing “crazy things” in response to several videos showing people performing idiotic stunts while using Autosteer, and that’s exactly what Tesla seems to have done.
Update Jan 9, 2016:
Tesla rolls out Firmware 7.1 with Autopilot safety improvements
The new Autopilot update apparently restricts its capabilities to speeds below the posted speed limit, while potentially disabling Autosteer under the same conditions. It is unclear if the software with the restrictions has been downloaded to all Autopilot enabled cars but reports from within the Tesla community indicate that the release has gone out to select beta testers.
Owners across the forums are not so much focused on whether the restrictions are a good idea, but rather the principle that Tesla has subtracted features after they have already been released. Some Tesla owners have even gone as far as saying they will refuse to install updates until they know if it will limit features that currently exist. TMC forum member Cyberax puts it succinctly:
“If there’s an update that removes a functionality that is useful for ME then I’m not going to install it. Moreover, I’ll sue Tesla if they update my car without asking me. This screenshot with 45 mph restriction is now a line in the sand for me.”
Sillydriver agrees. “My policy will be to wait a few days after a new build is offered to see whether people report that it introduces problems. If it does, I might wait for the next build, which will hopefully fix the problems, or would add more good features that would outweigh the problems.”
The new Autopilot and Autosteer restrictions seem only applicable to highway driving while Tesla’s active cruise control (TACC) appear to be unaffected by the latest update.