Tesla rolls out Autopilot improvements

Tesla Motors vehicles can see the road a little more clearly after a much-anticipated over-the-air software upgrade.

The California automaker confirmed Thursday that the software upgrade to Model S and Model X vehicles had begun to roll out, improving a partially self-driving car system.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk acknowledged that the Autopilot improvements might have prevented a crash that killed an Ohio man in May, when his Model S slammed into a truck.

The improvements include increased usage of radar to better identify other things happening on the road. The technology's automated steering system, which works only on the highway for now, can also now navigate interchanges on its own, the company said.

In an unrelated development, Musk said Thursday on Twitter that he's planning to reveal a new rooftop for Tesla vehicles that incorporates solar power capability. The technology will incorporate developments from SolarCity, which Tesla has reached an agreement to acquire, and Tesla's energy-storage product Powerwall.

Musk said he is "aiming" to unveil the offering on Oct. 28.

Tesla said it had also introduced a new feature allowing owners to ensure that the interior doesn't get overheated, even if a child or pet winds up in the vehicle with the car off.

"Tesla makes the only cars on the road that continue to get safer, smarter, and more capable over time, thanks to free, over-the-air software updates," the company said in a statement.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.


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