Tesla's Automatic Emergency Braking now works in reverse and at higher speeds
Tesla (Edited by NATA)
Tesla has made some subtle but significant changes to its owner's manual for the 2023.12 software update, revealing improvements to the Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) system. These changes include the ability for AEB to function while the vehicle is in reverse and an increased operational speed range. The latest improvements reflect Tesla's continued commitment to enhancing the safety and performance of its vehicles.
Thanks to a reader named Randall, who brought the changes to our attention. The latest 2023.12 software update includes these improvements outlined in the updated Tesla owner's manual. Previously, the manual described AEB as being designed to reduce the impact of frontal collisions. But, as of the 2023.12 owner's manual, which was released a couple days ago, Tesla has changed this word to:
Automatic Emergency Braking is designed to reduce the impact of frontal and reverse collisions with limited functionality while in Reverse.
AEB Available at Higher Speeds
The new description in the updated owner's manual highlights a few key changes. Now, the system is designed to determine the distance from detected objects, not just those in front of the vehicle. When a collision is considered unavoidable, AEB will apply the brakes to reduce the vehicle's speed and the severity of the impact, just as before. However, the operational speed range has been increased, with AEB now functioning between approximately 3 mph (5 km/h) and 124 mph (200 km/h); it previously maxed out at 90mph (150 km/h).
AEB Recognizes Threats in Reverse and More
In addition to the increased speed range, AEB now works while the vehicle is in reverse. This new feature is expected to be available outside of Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta and across various regions. Tesla typically specifies when a feature is limited to certain regions or requires FSD Beta, but no such limitations have been mentioned for the enhanced AEB.
The owner's manual also provides additional information on when AEB does not apply the brakes or stops applying them. These situations include:
Turning the steering wheel sharply
Pressing and releasing the brake pedal while AEB is applying the brakes
Accelerating hard while AEB is applying the brakes
The detected vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian is no longer ahead
Furthermore, the manual clarifies that AEB is always enabled when starting your Tesla. To disable it for the current drive, users can touch Controls > Autopilot > Automatic Emergency Braking. It's important to note that even if AEB is disabled, the vehicle may still apply the brakes after detecting an initial collision to reduce further impact.
These updates to Tesla's AEB system are expected to improve overall safety for drivers and pedestrians alike. With automatic emergency braking now functioning in reverse and at higher speeds, Tesla continues to push the boundaries of automotive technology and safety. As always, Tesla owners should remain vigilant and attentive while driving, as no system can guarantee complete protection against collisions.
Tesla's Automatic Emergency Braking now works in reverse and at higher speeds
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An Early Look at Tesla's 2023.20 Update and Its Features
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The closure of the probe comes amidst continuing concerns over the potential for driver distraction.
Investigation Ends, Still Leaves Room for Future Actions
While NHTSA's conclusion signifies a milestone in Tesla's ongoing scrutiny, it does not entirely absolve the electric vehicle maker. The administration emphasized that the end of the investigation does not mean a safety-related defect doesn't exist. Furthermore, the NHTSA's decision opens the possibility for future action if additional concerns arise.
NHTSA's apprehensions were primarily rooted in Tesla's decision to allow video games to be played on the front center touchscreen of the vehicle while in motion. Having acknowledged these concerns, Tesla voluntarily took action by disabling the 'Passenger Play' feature through an over-the-air software update soon after NHTSA launched its investigation in December 2021.
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The administration confirmed that Tesla reported a 97% completion rate of the software update disabling 'Passenger Play', within a month of its release. The agency lauded Tesla's swift action, which showcased a responsible approach toward ensuring driver safety and mitigating distractions. This action appeared to significantly address NHTSA's concerns, as the agency cited the importance of "affirmative technology-based lockouts" as more effective than merely using labels or disclaimer screens.
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Despite the conclusion of this specific probe, Tesla remains under the lens of the NHTSA, which is currently investigating Autopilot. The investigation, covering approximately 830,000 Tesla vehicles, aims to understand better human factors concerning Tesla interfaces and the dynamic driving task.
A History of Safety First
Tesla has always portrayed itself as an automaker that prioritizes safety. From advanced driver assist systems to top-tier safety ratings, the electric car manufacturer has consistently sought to revolutionize transportation safety norms. The swift action in disabling the controversial 'Passenger Play' feature further underscores the company's commitment to road safety and user well-being.
Tesla’s case serves as a potent reminder for all automakers that in-vehicle infotainment devices must balance entertainment and safety. In 2014, the NHTSA issued guidelines encouraging automakers to design in-vehicle devices so the driver can’t use them to perform inherently distracting secondary tasks while driving. As the lines between automobiles and technology blur, the importance of these guidelines will only grow.
Although the 'Passenger Play' investigation has concluded, Tesla’s journey with the NHTSA is far from over. The ongoing probe into Tesla’s Autopilot system indicates that the auto giant will remain under close watch to ensure the highest levels of safety for users and fellow road users alike.
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