Look ma, no hands!
During a conference call today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a coming software update for the Model S electric sedan that the company hopes to roll out in the next three months. Its key feature is a new “autopilot” mode that allows for hands-free driving between certain destinations. “We can basically go between San Francisco and Seattle without the driver doing anything,” said Musk. It speaks to one of Tesla’s key advantages over other automakers: its ability to digitally update its dashboard over the airwaves.
Now, there are a few important caveats worth mentioning. It isn’t a “true” self-driving machine, meaning the driver will still be expected to pay attention to the road. And Musk warned that some autonomous features like self-parking are still banned on most U.S. roadways, so you’ll need to use them on your own property. Like your driveway.
Also revealed: The firmware update will also allow the car to sniff out where the nearest charging station is, removing some of the anxiety and guesswork around finding your next outlet—particularly if you are a driver inclined toward insanity mode, which I learned the other day is the pretty much the best feature in any car ever.
“It’s going to look at the availability of chargers and definitely favor a Supercharger over a wall connector or destination charger,” said Musk. “Unless of course it happens to be at your destination.”