Photographer: Christopher Goodney/Bloomberg

Tesla Rolling Out Autopilot Software Updates to 1,000 Cars

  • Move brings Elon Musk’s vehicles closer to full self-driving
  • Company has collected 1.3 billion miles of Autopilot data

Tesla Motors Inc. began rolling out software updates to customers with newer cars, bringing them to parity with owners who have what’s known as “Autopilot 1” and setting the stage to ultimately unleash full self-driving capability.

“HW2 Autopilot software uploading to 1,000 cars this eve. Will then hold to verify no field issues and upload to rest of fleet next week,” Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said in a Twitter post on Saturday.

The end-of-year software update comes as the automotive and technology industries prepare to descend on Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show and Detroit for the North American International Auto Show.

Tesla is skipping CES and the Detroit auto show but instead is hosting investors at its $5 billion Gigafactory 1 east of Reno, Nevada, on Jan. 4, where it makes batteries and energy storage packs.

When Musk announced in October that all vehicles now being produced at the Fremont, California, factory are shipping with a new hardware suite to enable full self-driving, he warned that the cars would temporarily lack some of the features currently available on Tesla vehicles with “first generation” Autopilot as the company validated the software. That includes some standard safety features like automatic emergency breaking, collision warning and active cruise control.

Now customers with the “Hardware 2” suite will have those features.

All Tesla cars produced since October 2014 have Autopilot hardware, which has allowed the company to collect more than 1.3 billion miles of data from Autopilot-equipped vehicles operating under diverse road and weather conditions.

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