On Sunday morning, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk provided an update on the company's ongoing rollout of its latest Autopilot upgrade. A planned software update for Monday, and one more week's worth of fleet data following the update, will probably be enough for Tesla to finish rolling out its latest Autopilot improvement to all vehicles with its new sensor suite, Musk said. The update shows off Tesla's control of its driver-assist systems and its software strengths.
Tesla's in-house developed software for Autopilot, combined with its high level of vertical integration of all relevant systems, gives the company significant flexibility and control in delivering significant over-the-air updates. Further, by including Autopilot sensors in every vehicle delivered, whether customers pay for Autopilot of not, Tesla can garner unprecedented data by operating sensors in "shadow mode" even as customers drive without the help of driver-assist systems. Of course, Tesla can collect data from vehicles with activated Autopilot as well.
In addition, Tesla's deep vertical control of Autopilot systems enables the company to rapidly deploy improvements through its "fleet learning," or fleetwide improvements that can be made in real-time with real-time driving data. By having all their cars connected and fleet learning, the level of useful data Tesla is able to access for improving its system gives the company an advantage in constantly improving the convenience and safety of driver-assist systems.
As long as Tesla's Autopilot updates go as planned -- and considering the way the company has rapidly deployed significant over-the-air updates to its vehicles in the past, they probably will -- Tesla is about to take another step forward in advancing its vehicles' driver-assist systems even further ahead of the competition.
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