Tesla started rolling out its big version 8.0 update last night, adding better Autopilot, new temperature controls, easier voice commands and more. The software also adds a stricter warning system to keep you from taking your hands off the wheel when Autosteer is on, which should make for a safer experience even if it ends up annoying some Tesla owners.
Essentially, Tesla will actively warn you if your hands are off the wheel for too long while Autosteer is engaged. If you get three warnings in under an hour, the feature will switch off entirely until you reach your destination. However, it sounds like you can circumvent the block by temporarily putting your car in park.
There are a few different ways to activate these warnings. If you’re driving under 45 miles per hour on a straight road you can keep your hands off the wheel for up to five minutes before getting a warning. If you’re on a curved road or traveling at over 45 miles per hour, Tesla will let you keep your hands off the wheel for no longer than three minutes. That drops to just one minute if there’s no car in front of your for the Autosteer software to follow.
This might be annoying for people who’ve become comfortable letting Tesla take control of the wheel, but the company says that’s exactly what it hopes to solve. Autopilot and Autosteer still aren’t advanced enough to take over completely, and this way the human driver should be ready to take control at a moment’s notice.