Teslas can now change lanes without driver permission
Tesla has rolled out the latest version of its Navigate on Autopilot feature that lets the car decide to change lanes without the driver's permission.
In a statement issued yesterday, the automotive company says: "Since we first introduced Navigate on Autopilot last year, Tesla drivers have travelled more than 66 million miles using the feature, and more than nine million suggested lane changes have been successfully executed with the feature in use.
"We've heard from our customers that it makes road trips and highway driving more relaxing, enjoyable and fun, and gives them an easy way to follow their car's navigation guidance when travelling on an unfamiliar route."
The company says it has now rolled out the latest version of Navigate on Autopilot for a more seamless, active guidance experience.
It points out that in this new version, drivers will have the option to use Navigate on Autopilot without having to confirm lane changes via the turn stalk.
How it works
In the Autopilot settings menu, a driver can press the Customise Navigate on Autopilot button which will now display three additional settings: enable at start of every trip, require lane change confirmation, and lane change notification.
Through the 'enable at start of every trip' setting, Navigate on Autopilot can be set to automatically turn on each time a driver enters a navigation route.
Once enabled, anytime a driver is on a highway and uses Autopilot with a location plugged into the navigation bar, the feature will be on by default.
If a driver selects 'no' to 'require lane change confirmation', lane changes will happen automatically, without requiring a driver to confirm them first.
Drivers can elect to get notified about an upcoming lane change by receiving an audible chime as well as a default visual prompt.
Additionally, all cars made after August 2017 will have the option to have their steering wheel vibrate for the alert as well.
Tesla explains these notifications are meant to provide drivers with the opportunity to check their surroundings and determine whether they want to cancel the lane change before it's made.
Cancellations can be made by moving the car's turn signal, or by pressing the lane change cancellation pop-up notification on the car's touch-screen.
Tesla points out this feature does not make a car autonomous, and lane changes will only be made when a driver's hands are detected on the wheel.
As has always been the case, the automaker says until truly driverless cars are validated and approved by regulators, drivers are responsible for and must remain in control of their car at all times.
"Through our internal testing and Early Access Programme, more than half a million miles have already been driven with the lane change confirmation turned off. Our team consistently reviews data from instances when drivers took over while the feature has been in use, and has found that when used properly, both versions of Navigate on Autopilot offer comparable levels of safety.
"We've also heard overwhelmingly from drivers in our Early Access Programme that they like using the feature for road trips and during their daily commutes, and we're excited to release the option to the rest of the Tesla family."
Meanwhile, the company announced it delivered 63 000 vehicles to customers in the first quarter of 2019, a 31% decline from the previous quarter when Tesla delivered 90 700 vehicles.
"Due to a massive increase in deliveries in Europe and China, which at times exceeded five times that of prior peak delivery levels, and many challenges encountered for the first time, we had only delivered half of the entire quarter's numbers by 21 March, 10 days before end of quarter," says Tesla.
It notes this caused a large number of vehicle deliveries to shift to the second quarter. At the end of the first quarter, approximately 10 600 vehicles were in transit to customers globally, it adds.
"Because of the lower than expected delivery volumes and several pricing adjustments, we expect Q1 net income to be negatively impacted. Even so, we ended the quarter with sufficient cash on hand."