Tesla is a company that does not make too much of a fanfare when it comes to the kind of announcements made -- unless there is a breakthrough in development or a brand new electric vehicle that is raring and waiting to be unleashed on our streets. In fact, Tesla CEO Elon Musk does a fair bit of communication with the rest of the world through Twitter as his medium of choice -- something which president-elect Donald Trump is also wont to do. Well, Tesla Motors has finally introduced Autopilot version 8.1 to 1,000 vehicles as 2016 came to a close on December 31. Certainly one of the better gifts to start off the new year with, don’t you think so?
However, the limited release to just 1,000 vehicles can only mean one thing. Tesla is being cautious with Autopilot version 8.1 rollout. Perhaps you can call this a “soak test” or sorts, where the latest version of its autopilot functionality will be limited to just a handful of people for obvious reasons. Once user feedback from all of the 1,000 lucky Tesla owners have been taken into consideration and should there be any bugs reported, it would be time to return to the drawing board and make sure that everything is running in fine condition before a final rollout. However, if the Autopilot version 8.1 encounters no issues whatsoever with the 1,000 people, then it ought to be all systems go shortly afterwards for a mass rollout to all compatible Tesla vehicles.
Do take note that Autopilot version 8.1 is available only for Tesla vehicles that have been manufactured since late October 2016 -- anything that rolls off Tesla’s production lines earlier than the specified date would not be eligible for any kind of Autopilot version 81 goodness.
We knew that Autopilot version 8.1 will be delivered to a limited number of people at the end of December 2016, but what we did not know was just how last minute it would have been -- right on the dot of New Year’s Eve itself. So far, all vehicles that are equipped with Tesla’s Full Self-Driving suite of 8 cameras and a dozen ultrasonic sensors have been running without the Autopilot functionality kicking in, so this particular update ought to bring smiles to the faces of qualified Tesla owners. A belated Christmas present of sorts, so to speak.
It was through a string of tweets (where else?) as well as replies from Elon Musk himself that revealed how Autopilot version 8.1 was being prepared for a year end release in 2016. Things kicked off on December 29 last year when Musk revealed the progress with the update that is commonly referred to as “HW2,” which is short for “hardware 2.”
Andrew Doane (@andrewket) then replied someone who had a question concerning the speed update to the P100D model, which did allow the P100D to take the mantle of being the fastest car in the world, and Musk confirmed that this particular performance upgrade was tipped to be introduced last Thursday, which is obviously connected to the Autopilot upgrade.
If you are one of the lucky 1,000 qualified Tesla owners, how has your experience with Autopilot version 8.1 been?