We’re in that jolting kind of phase in the development of widely available self-driving cars where innovations trickle through which make most people say, “Hang on a minute, is that even legal?”
Tesla posted a blog today explaining a big new software update for US drivers: they can now allow their cars to automatically change lanes without first prompting the driver.
If a driver selects ‘No’ to Require Lane Change Confirmation, lane changes will happen automatically, without requiring a driver to confirm them with the indicator stalk first. Drivers can choose how they wish to be notified about lane changes, giving them enough time to check their surroundings and determine whether they want to cancel the lane change before it’s made. Automatic lane changes can be cancelled by moving the car’s turn signal or by pressing the lane change cancellation pop-up notification on the car’s touchscreen. This feature does not make a car autonomous, and lane changes will only be made when a driver’s hands are detected on the wheel.
In short, Teslas in the United States have had the ability to change lanes since they launched the ‘Navigate on Autopilot’ feature in October last year. But the system would prompt the driver before making the movie. Now, owners can change a setting to allow the car to just do it, with a prompt or otherwise.
Elon Musk is definitely thrilled about this.
This is way more awesome than it might sound https://t.co/iHbczo6m1E
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 3, 2019
Look, personally I would find my car just straight up overtaking someone without my input to be somewhat alarming. But maybe if you’re someone with a shitload of money and a sick fetish for letting computers do stuff for you without even asking… this could be the feature for you.
At present, this feature appears to only be rolling out to US drivers – at least initially. But you can assume it’ll make its way to Australia at some point.