Tesla’s autonomous coast-to-coast drive, originally promised in 2016, is on hold while the company’s Autopilot team stays “heads down” on improving the driver assist system’s safety features, Elon Musk said in a call with investors Wednesday. Musk also teased a new software update to Autopilot — version 9.0 — coming in September that he said would be a stark improvement over the current version. Tesla built a new version of its semi-autonomous system, known as Autopilot, in 2016 after a public breakup with the original supplier of the technology. Shortly after unveiling the replacement hardware and software, Musk claimed that the company’s new version — Autopilot 2.0 — would be good enough that a car equipped with it would complete a trip from Los Angeles to New York without a single moment of human interference. Musk also said Tesla would be able to develop the tech fast enough to pull off this demonstration by the end of 2017. Earlier this year, he said the drive would be “upcoming.” But now it seems like we’ll have to wait even longer before Musk gives to green light. That is sure to disappoint Tesla’s fans, as well as investors and analysts, who watch closely for any updates on the company’s self-driving vehicle program. But it also may come as a relief for some who want Musk to stay focused on stabilizing the Model 3’s production and building a profitable, cash-positive company. “We could do a coast-to-coast drive, especially if we pick a specific… [Read full story]
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