Tesla update halts automatic steering if driver inattentive

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DETROIT (AP) — Tesla says an update to its Autopilot system will disable automatic steering if a driver doesn’t keep their hands on the wheel.

Version 8.0 of Tesla’s software began moving over the Internet to its electric vehicles Wednesday night.

A guest test drives Tesla Motors' new version of its Model S sedan, the P85D, in Hawthorne, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
A guest test drives Tesla Motors’ new version of its Model S sedan, the P85D, in Hawthorne, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Earlier versions warned the driver and slowed the car to a stop if no hands were detected on the steering wheel. It’s unclear if the cars will still do that. Automatic steering won’t resume until the car is parked.

Tesla Florida crash
This file photo provided by the National Transportation Safety Board via the Florida Highway Patrol shows the Tesla Model S that was being driven by Joshua Brown, who was killed when the vehicle crashed while in self-driving mode on May 7, 2016. (NTSB via Florida Highway Patrol via AP, File)

The new version of Autopilot also relies more on radar than cameras. Tesla says the change should help avoid crashes like the one that killed a driver in Florida last May.

Tesla says the software also will move the cars around slower vehicles that are partially off the right side of the road.

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