Your run-of-the-mill corporate CEO couldn’t get away with this shit. In a series of tweets on Sunday, Tesla founder Elon Musk revealed that a new Autopilot software update should be ready for next month, and then went on to say that, Autopilot—of which the latest version is designed by Tesla, which, so you’re clear, is his company—is “safe, but unpleasant.” Hm.
The rollout of Autopilot’s second-generation has been fraught with issues, with Tesla owners complaining that it hasn’t reached feature parity with the first generation of Autopilot hardware, something at the center of a recent class-action lawsuit filed against the automaker.
Tesla has called the suit “disingenuous” and “inaccurate,” but even Musk says the new Autopilot can be unsettling for some drivers. On Sunday, in response to a comment about Autopilot’s “jerkiness” at highway speeds, Musk said that “Yeah, control algorithm is safe, but unpleasant. New one is even safer, but super smooth.”
Updates being made to the vehicle’s control algorithm will help refine Autopilot’s ability to determine actions and corrections signaled by the vehicle’s array of eight cameras and radar sensors. This should theoretically result in better ride comfort and a more “human-like” driving experience. While Enhanced Autopilot under the most recent firmware update already does a great job at keeping the vehicle to lanes and controlling speed, its actions are more robotic in nature and reactionary.
It’s surprising that Musk is so candid about the driving experience with Autopilot, especially after the company offered such a visceral response to the recent class-action suit. But yet, here he is, on Twitter admitting that Tesla owners are dealing with an unpleasant tool his own company produced. It’s strange to say the least.
Amid the flurry of tweets, Musk added that second-gen Autopilot cars should receive an update next month that’ll include auto windshield wipers and automatic perpendicular parking.
And Musk remains adamant that a coast-to-coast drive on Tesla Autopilot should be on target for sometime this year. Since October 2016, all new Teslas have been equipped with hardware to eventually operate entirely automated—and Musk claims all of the newer vehicles will be able to make a coast-to-coast trip.
And now you might even be able to make the trek without a rough driving experience. Splendid.