Tesla Changes Autopilot Again, Restricts Driving To Posted Speed Limit On Some Roads

Image courtesy of Atwater Village Newbie

Tesla’s Autopilot has faced a slew of issues and controversies this year following the first fatal crash to occur while the semi-autonomous function was activated: from Germany asking the company to change the feature’s name to updates that included radar and driver enhancement safety checks. Now, the electric carmaker is making another change, rolling out an update that limits the vehicle to driving at the speed limit when on certain roads. 

The Verge reports that Tesla’s latest update requires Autopilot to travel at the posted speed limit on undivided roads.

The update, first reported by Electrek, changes Autopilot’s current system that allowed users to set the feature’s “Traffic-Aware Cruise Control” feature to up to 5 miles-per-hour over the speed limit on roads and undivided highways.

Now, drivers will have to adhere to the exact speed limit on those roads. However, while speed on highways is not affected by the update, drivers will still be restricted by Autopilot’s 90 mph speed limit.

This means that the change would not have prevented the fatal May crash, as the driver of the Model S was on a divided highway — affected by the 90 mph limit — The Verge notes.

Some Tesla owners have already reported issues with the update, noting that the restrictions have cropped up erroneously in some cases.

Tesla has been under increased scrutiny this year over the Autopilot feature, following the fatal collision in Florida.

The car maker said in July that it would not disable Autopilot, but a number of consumer safety advocates — including our colleagues at Consumer Reports — have called Tesla out for the potentially confusing messages surrounding the Autopilot feature.

In August, the owner of a Tesla in Beijing said he crashed the vehicle into a the side of a vehicle that was partially parked in the road while using the feature. Tesla says the driver is to blame for taking his hands off the wheel, while the driver says he was misled about the Autopilot feature.

Shortly after the incident, Tesla said it removed that word, along with another term that means “self-driving,” from its website for customers in China.

Since then, regulators in Germany have asked the company to rename the “misleading” Autopilot feature to avoid any confusion that could lead to dangerous collisions.

Last month, consumer safety advocates urged the California DMV to act on specific regulations proposed in September that would, in part, put restrictions on how carmakers can advertise self-driving vehicles.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.