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Tesla launches new steering-assist safety features

by Justin King

The lane-keeping features work even with Autopilot turned off.

Tesla has announced a few new steering-assist features that work in the background even when Autopilot is turned off.

Lane Departure Avoidance automatically provides corrective steering if a driver begins to drift out of a lane without their turn signal on. The system also checks if a driver's hands are on the wheel. If not, audible and visual alerts provide a reminder and, when Traffic Aware Cruise Control is active, the car will gradually slow to 15 mph below the speed limit and turn the hazard lights on.

"It is an extension of Lane Departure Warning, which already warns drivers through a steering wheel vibration if they begin to drift out of their lane without their turn signal engaged," Tesla says.

Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance works in the same way, but only intervenes if the system detects that a collision is imminent or the vehicle is close to the edge of a road.

The new features will begin rolling out today via over-the-air updates for the Model 3 and expanding to all cars that were built after October 2016.

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