Tesla’s latest Autopilot update records the road while you drive
Tesla’s excited to ramp up its work to create a fully self-driving car platform by the end of the year — so it wants your permission to take some quick videos while you’re behind the wheel, please.
The electric automaker rolled out the latest version of its HW2 Autopilot software and asked owners to agree to some new terms along with the update, according to Electrek, which published the message Tesla sent its owners.
In order to “improve autonomous safety features and make self-driving a reality for you as soon as possible,” Tesla has asked owners to allow their cars’ camera systems to record “short video clips.” Those videos will be used to help hone the Autopilot’s visual recognition capabilities to keep the cars on the road.
Improving Autopilot through on-road testing could help Tesla gather all the on-road data it needs to perfect the system, and the cars’ sensors have always gathered road data to get smarter, but the explicit request to record video to be sent back to Tesla HQ might raise security concerns for owners who might not be too keen on the automaker tracking their drives.
Tesla was proactive in addressing those concerns right off the bat. “We want to be super clear that these short video clips are not linked to your vehicle identification number,” the message read. “In order to protect your privacy, we have ensured that there is no way to search our system for clips that are associated with a specific car.”
Even if the video data is anonymous, the automaker isn’t drawing a line at sharing the data, acknowledging that it might make videos available to “partners that contribute similar data to help us provide the service.”
The recording function is contingent on the owner’s agreement. The permission form has an option to opt out later, too, so drivers aren’t stuck being recorded if they change their minds.
The software update also lifts restrictions on Autopilot’s Autosteer function, which automatically keeps the car in its lane, pushes the pace up from 80 mph to 90 mph on the highway, and lifts the off-highway speed cap of 35 mph to 5 mph above the speed limit.