Tesla drivers are coming to grips with new alerts designed to ensure they stay engaged with their vehicle while it's in Autopilot mode, but one alert seems to be causing some confusion, to the point that CEO Elon Musk has promised a fix.
The latest update to Autopilot includes a "Hold Steering Wheel" alert that pops up in 15 to 20 second intervals if it doesn't detect driver hands on the wheel, reports Electrek (opens in new tab).
Seems like a sensible safety measure, but it's how the wheel is detecting driver grips that's frustrating Tesla owners.
According to at least one driver, he now needs to "white knuckle death grip the wheel to keep away the nags."
Replying to this driver's tweet, Musk said: "Will be adjusting alert to clarify that we mean 'slight up or downward force on the wheel', not really 'hold the wheel'".
@elonmusk 2018.21.9 is a pain. I now need to white knuckle death grip the wheel to keep away the nags. Don’t need to keep my foot on the peddles with old school cruise control!June 13, 2018
So, whenever the next Autopilot update is released, drivers should only need to apply slight pressure to let the vehicle know they're engaged with the steering wheel.
Tesla's Autopilot has come under scrutiny after a number of accidents that occurred when the self-driving feature was engaged, including a crash in March that resulted in the death of a Tesla driver who ignored warnings from his Model X.
Tesla has maintained Autopilot is an assistance feature, not a full replacement for human drivers, though drivers have discovered hacks (opens in new tab) to trick the system into thinking they are holding the wheel when they really aren't.
The new nag alerts may be annoying and in need of tweaking, but Tesla is in a position where it needs to keep drivers engaged with their vehicles and paying attention to the road, and not become overly reliant on the system.
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