Yesterday Elon Musk brought an end to range anxiety through a major update to Tesla’s navigation software, but that wasn’t the only big announcement for the electric automaker. Tesla has begun testing software for the Model S that will let it drive itself from San Francisco to Seattle, almost entirely hands free…and that’s just the beginning.
The new software will come with the firmware 7.0 update later this year, and though Tesla is still testing it extensively, Musk says it’s already able to go the 800 miles between the two west coast cities with hardly any driver feedback at all. While technically the system can go from one parking lot to another, it is primarily tasked with navigating the Model S on the freeway, where an advanced Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) system keeps the car in its lane, while still being able to pass slower drivers. Having seen Tesla’s ACC system in action already, it’ll be interesting to see just how much better it can get. People are really into the idea of self-driving Tesla it seems.
But wait, there’s more! Musk also announced that Tesla will include new blind spot warning and emergency braking features in the next update to improve overall safety. For P85D owners, the promised “valet mode” that limits power, torque, and access to personal information should sound especially promising. Even cooler is the promised ability to summon your Tesla to your location, so you no longer have to trudge across a parking lot like some common pleb.
Elon Musk is right on schedule to deliver the self-driving cars as he promised, and with the firmware 7.0 update Tesla comes one step closer to making autonomous driving a reality…at least for the rich.