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Tesla will begin rollout of v8.1 with Enhanced Autopilot by end of December

The much anticipated rollout of Tesla’s version 8.1 software which will activate Enhanced Autopilot is slated to take place by end of December. Through a series of tweets aimed at addressing questions from anxious Model S and Model X owners wondering when their new hardware 2 equipped vehicles would receive Autopilot functionality, CEO Elon Musk noted that the team has been working seven days a week to prepare for the over-the-air software deployment. To date, vehicles equipped with Tesla’s Full Self-Driving suite of 8 cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors have been operating without Autopilot functionality.

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In a new tweet from today, Musk says the company “might be ready to rollout most of Autopilot functionality for [hardware 2 vehicles] towards the end of next week”. This comes after prefacing, the day before, that Enhanced Autopilot is working well, however the effectiveness of it will arrive over time based on volume of road data collected through its fleet of vehicles.

Tesla has been collecting driver’s data in “Shadow Mode” on new hardware 2 equipped vehicles. These vehicles running in shadow mode have not taken any driving-assist or self-driving actions to date. Rather, Tesla has been building an AI model behind the scenes that pits human versus computer by logging instances when Autopilot would have taken action and compare those results to the real life actions taken by human drivers.

The fact that Musk clearly states that “most of Autopilot functionality” will be released in the upcoming v8.1 roll out further validates that the training set of data used by Enhanced Autopilot is still in its infancy stage, and only select features such as reading speed limit signs and detecting stop lights may be enabled.

Musk once said that Tesla aims to improve its self-driving algorithms until statistical data shows that its self-driving model is safer than actions taken by humans. It’s a step needed before regulators will approve of Tesla’s vision for an autonomous future.

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