In its push to achieve full self-driving capability by the end of this year, Tesla Motors, Inc. (TSLA) is rolling out a revision to its autopilot software, known as HW2, this week. The update will function in active mode for 1,000 Teslas and in shadow mode for the electric car maker's remaining fleet.  

In the latter case, the shadow mode will enable Tesla’s software to gather data regarding possible action routes in multiple driving conditions. Thus, the car will record actions that the computer would have taken if its software had been in active mode. Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that, if all goes well, the function will switch from shadow to active mode by the end of this week. 


Tesla released HW1 last week, and Musk promised that the update would be functional on all Tesla vehicles by the end of that week. The current plan is a compromise that enables the company to refine its software by gathering data from its fleet. Last October, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company stated that all its vehicles on the factory floor would henceforth be equipped with self-driving hardware capability. The company also hopes to complete a trip from Los Angeles to New York City’s Times Square using a self-driving car by the end of this year. (See also: Tesla Announces Self-Driving Hardware for All Cars in Production.) 

The Autopilot feature caused much controversy for the company after a driver died while using it. Since then, the company has released a software update that features additional inputs from radar. (See also: Tesla's Autopilot Software Gets an Update.)

The entry of Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) subsidiary Waymo and announcements by major automotive manufacturers regarding self-driving cars have also lent urgency to Tesla's ambitions. While the market for self-driving cars is not expected to mature until 2030, partial autonomy, or the ability to self-park or enable hands-off control for small periods of time, will happen sooner. (See also: Waymo Cuts Self-Driving Car Sensor Costs by 90%.)

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