December 10th 2015
New constraints are coming soon to Tesla’s Autopilot feature. A post to Telsa Owners forum this evening show leaked images of Version 7.1 software for Tesla vehicles. Images clearly show limitations will be placed on autopilot; directly effecting what speed it can be activated. Purportedly this limitation will be controlled by the cars ability to recognize the posted speed limit. Thereby maintaining the posted speed while in autopilot mode.
This update is currently in beta testing and has not been released to Tesla owners in the 90,000+ vehicle fleet. Telsa releases new features “over the air” (OTA) to their customers via Wifi or cellular connection. Telsa owners get” improvement” to their vehicles several times a year thru this method.
The last Tesla update (7.0) came to owners in mid-October of this year. That release gave owners a long awaited feature know as “auto-steer” as often referred to as autopilot. Autopilot gives the owner the option to activate a self steering feature while traveling on well marked roads.
New restrictions in the 7.1 release will make breaking the current Autonomous Coast to Coast record very difficult, if not impossible.
As the autonomous car market evolves, legislators will likely put additional restrictions on all manufactures offering “self driving”. Thus closing the door on future autonomous record attempts.
Some Tesla owners that are aware of the leaked images, say they have no desire for 7.1 update. Stating that they would not download the update into their cars, if it will restrict autonomous features .
Telsa Autopilot was first released in the fall of 2015. Within days of that release, an autonomous coast to coast record was set by a team using autopilot.
The record was set by Deena Mastracci, Carl Reese and Alex Roy in October 2015. The Trio officially set the “Semi-Autonomous Automobile Record from Los Angeles to New York City” with a total time of 57 Hours and 49 Minutes. Not only setting a new semi-autonomous record, but also setting a new EV coast to coast record as well. During this journey the autopilot drove 96.1 % of the time.
Mastracci and Reese bested their previous EV time set back in April of 2015 with co-driver Rod Hawk of 58 hours and 55 minutes.
Yet a third record was set in Oct 2015 when Carl and Deena set the “Double Transcontinental EV Record” during the same trip. After arriving in New York City in record time, the couple briefly rested overnight. On 22 October 2015 the couple turned the car back towards Los Angeles after less than 28 hours in NYC. The couple drove the Tesla back to the Portofino Hotel, in Redondo Beach, CA. Where Chis Bischoff Notarty was standing by to officially log the couple in. Witness for the return to Los Angeles was an employee at the Portofino Hotel. The couple managed set the Double Transcontinental Record for an Electric Vehicle with a time of 6 Days 6 hours and 22 minutes. Beating Dan Edmunds and Kurt Niebuhrs time of 6 days 23 hours and 4 minutes.
Rod Hawk, Deena Mastracci and Carl Reese hold a Guinness Book of World Record for Shortest EV charging time coast to coast of 12 hours 49 minutes during their trip in April 2015.