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Tesla announces update to its autopilot feature

By Shawn Price
Tesla announced it will soon be updating the autopilot function of its Model X (pictured) and the Model S, having greater reliance on radar than before the fatal crash of a Tesla driver in May. Photo courtesy Tesla Motors
Tesla announced it will soon be updating the autopilot function of its Model X (pictured) and the Model S, having greater reliance on radar than before the fatal crash of a Tesla driver in May. Photo courtesy Tesla Motors

PALO ALTO, Calif., Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Tesla announced Sunday it will update its autopilot feature in ways that will prevent the kind of crash that killed a Tesla driver in May.

The new improvements Musk told reporters, will make "the Model S and X by far the safest car on the road." Something definitely needed as the electric car maker has struggled recently with concerns over the effectiveness and safety of the autopilot function.

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Musk said the updates will be sent to Model S and Model X owners in a few weeks.

The autopilot update will use radar more than before and its camera a little less. Because of the previous balance of radar and camera, the autopilot was unable to distinguish a bright sky from a white tractor trailer, resulting in the crash that killed Tesla driver Joshua Brown in May.

"Radar sees through most visual obscuration," the company said on its blog. "The car should almost always hit the brakes correctly even if a UFO were to land on the freeway in zero visibility conditions."

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