Tesla upgrades software to improve autopilot feature

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Tesla vehicles are getting a software upgrade and the owners don't even have to bring it in. CEO Elon Musk says the update will make its autopilot feature safer. (KGO-TV)

Tesla vehicles are getting a software upgrade and the owners don't even have to bring it in. CEO Elon Musk says the update will make its autopilot feature safer.

Version 8.0 is downloading Wednesday night.

The software update for the autopilot feature will allow the Model S and Model X SUV to rely more on radar than cameras.

RELATED: Tesla planning upgrade to semi-autonomous autopilot system

Teslas have a radar if they were made after 2014.

Musk says the change should help avoid crashes like the one that killed a Tesla driver in Florida in May.

That driver was using autopilot when it crashed into a big rig the car's cameras failed to detect.

RELATED: Tesla owner still confident in self-driving car despite fatal accident

In a blog post, the Tesla team says the new upgrade to the system means "the car should almost always hit the brakes correctly, even if a UFO were to land on the freeway in zero visibility conditions."

Despite the assurances, people have mixed opinions about using autopilot.

"It's not autopilot for me, it's more helping me drive. It's driver assist," owner Praveen Kankariya said. He also added that she feels safer with the feature.

"We use this car as the primary vehicle with the kids," another driver said. When asked if they are ready to let the computer take over, she said, "No, no. I think that's going to be tough for a pretty good percentage of the population."

Musk also says the update will allow customers to set a maximum temperature inside the vehicle to protect pets and kids. That means if it gets too hot, the air conditioning will automatically turn on.

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automotiveteslatechnologyauto industrycardrivingauto newsu.s. & worldelon musk
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