Tesla has officially launched Autopilot feature a few days ago. With this new feature released in the version 7.0 of the software update, Tesla is also creating high precision digital maps of the Earth by using GPS. It seems that self driving cars react based on the information that they have. Therefore the more information that they have, the more accurate it is and therefore the safer it is for them to operate.
It seems that other companies which are also moving towards self driving cars have been trying to improve the accuracy of their mapping as well. Apple and Google are deploying their mapping vehicles around the world to do this. Uber, on the other hand, tried to bid on Nokia’s HERE technology before the company was being outbid by Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
The technology that is used by Tesla is apparently different from the others. Tesla Model S, for example, with Autopilot feature present or not, it is connected from the cloud and it is collecting information from other Model S cars as well. Tesla is using this method to develop its maps.
Musk is calling it a fleet learning network whereby all the cars are contributing information to the shared database. Given one example of a road section in California where the lanes are badly marked, even with the absence of the road marking, Model S is still able to work properly by using the information shared by Model S drivers.
Autopilot which offers automatic steering, lane changes and parking, apparently is still under public beta and thus it is advisable for drivers to keep their hands on the wheel if the feature is enabled.