Electric Cars

Tesla beams Lane Departure Avoidance upgrade to Model 3 owners

It will eventually expand to all vehicles built after October 2016.

One of Tesla's new features can be left off, while the other must be turned off every time a driver wants it that way.

Tesla

Tesla has sent plenty of new features to its vehicle owners through over-the-air updates, and on Thursday evening, it announced a new safety feature that it will start sending to cars immediately.

Two new safety systems will be enabled via OTA starting on Thursday. The first is Lane Departure Avoidance, which appears to pack the functionality of modern active lane-keep assist systems. If a car starts to leave its lane without a turn signal on, the steering will gently guide the vehicle back into its lane.

However, if the system doesn't detect that there are any hands on the wheel when it tries to leave the lane, the driver will get a series of alerts. Tesla says it'll work between 25 and 90 miles per hour, and it can be switched on and off as the driver prefers. It builds upon the lane-departure warning system that vibrates the wheel when the car gets too close to either side of the lane.

The second feature is Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance. This one is a little different, as it's meant to steer the car back into its lane if it detects departure and determines that a collision may occur. The result is the same: the car gently guides itself back into the center of the lane. Unlike the non-Emergency flavor, though, this one is turned on at the start of every drive, and disabling it only works for the length of that trip.

The update will arrive on Model 3s first, but Tesla says its whole lineup will eventually receive both features, so long as the car has a build date after October 2016.