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First look at Tesla ‘Mad Max’ mode for Autopilot lane changes in action

[Credit: Jasper Nuyens/YouTube]

Tesla’s highly-anticipated Software Version 9 update has begun rolling out to the companys’ fleet, and it is proving to be one of the company’s most significant updates yet. Notably present in V9 are a number of features that were previously teased by Elon Musk, such as built-in Dashcam capabilities and “Mad Max” mode for Autopilot lane changes.

Demos of Version 9’s capabilities and features have started emerging from owners who have received Tesla’s latest software update. Among these is owner-enthusiast Jasper Nuyens, who has provided what could very well be the first demos of Tesla’s Mad Max mode in action. The Tesla owner’s demo was conducted at night, and there were but a few vehicles on the road. Nevertheless, it does appear from the video demonstrations that Mad Max mode allows Autopilot to conduct lane change maneuvers a bit more assertively.

Autopilot’s Mad Max mode was first teased by Elon Musk last June, when he shared a teaser showing the feature. Much like other Elon Musk-related developments, the revelation of Mad Max mode came as a response to a joke, after an image was shared online depicting the Tesla Semi beside the post-apocalyptic vehicles in the blockbuster movie franchise. Responding on Twitter, Musk noted that a Mad Max mode literally exists on Autopilot’s developer build.

Elon Musk’s initial image depicted Mad Max Mode as part of Autopilot’s “Blind Spot Threshold” settings. The candid CEO even noted that Tesla was thinking of adding “LA Freeway” after Mad Max, but the setting would have been “too loco.” Musk did not commit to Mad Max mode being included in the Software V9 release, but when the first electric car owners received the highly-anticipated update, it became evident that the cleverly-named lane change setting had been included.

Images shared by electric car owners with cars running the V9 update reveal that Mad Max mode has been rolled out as one of the settings under Navigate on Autopilot, a new feature for Tesla’s driver-assist system. Navigate on Autopilot allows vehicles to guide themselves on and off the highway, intelligently suggesting lane changes to optimize the drive. Tesla’s Software V9 release notes describe Navigate on Autopilot as such:

“Our newest Autopilot convenience feature, designed to get you to your destination more efficiently by guiding your car on and off the highway. Navigate on Autopilot intelligently suggests lane changes to keep you on your route in addition to making adjustments so you don’t get stuck behind slow cars or trucks.

“When Navigate on Autopilot is active, a single blue line indicates the path ahead, keeping your car in the lane. Gray lines highlight lane changes for a more efficient driving route. Navigate on Autopilot will also automatically steer toward and take the correct highway interchanges and exits based on your destination.”

Unlike Elon Musk’s teaser image, Mad Max mode is listed under “Speed based lane changes” under Software Version 9’s Navigate on Autopilot menu. The settings for the feature also includes an option which allows drivers to require lane change confirmations before their vehicle initiates the driving maneuver.

Watch Jasper Nuyens’ Mad Max mode demonstration videos below.

First look at Tesla ‘Mad Max’ mode for Autopilot lane changes in action
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