Tesla has reactivated a much-demanded feature on its Model X and Model S cars — automatic braking. Automatic braking is an important safety feature on Tesla cars, one that could make full autonomy on company cars possible.
The feature has most probably been brought back due to Consumer Reports’ recent downgrade of the Model S and X rating. Consumer Reports had downgraded the rating for the cars Wednesday because of the omission of the feature. The research firm, which is known for its ratings of consumer products, awards bonus points to cars having features such as forward collision warning and automatic braking.
“We appreciate that Tesla has started to roll out standard automatic emergency braking (AEB) on these vehicles,” said Jake Fisher, Director of Auto Testing at Consumer Reports.
A Tesla Model S 60D owned by Consumer Reports received the new software update Friday. According to the digital owner’s manual, which was also updated on the same day, the feature only works up to speeds of 28 miles per hour, which means that it is not yet available for highway driving — it has made a comeback but doesn’t work like AEB that was fitted in cars made before October 19, 2016, which worked even up to speeds of 90 miles per hour.
Tesla had announced in October while launching the autopilot update that it was working on the software.
“The first step was meeting the IIHS requirements, which are 45 km/h (28 mph),” the company told Consumer Reports. “Over the next several weeks, we will increase AEB speed activation until it is the most capable of any vehicle in the world.”
Tesla also told Consumer Reports Friday that the reason for keeping the speed low on the feature was that it goes along with its rollout plan for new software, which will be rolled out gradually, and higher speeds will be included as a feature on later updates.
AEB, combined with forward collision warning, can lead to a 40 percent…