A New Era in Self-Driving Cars
Tesla just released the latest version of their car technology, Tesla 7.1. Ultimately, the release came yesterday (January 10, 2016) for its Model S and Model X cars. Although the previous version was released late last year, the upgrade enables owners to stand outside the car and watch it park itself.
Youtube videos of owners demonstrating the upgrade have been circling around social media sites like Facebook and YouTube, and it looks pretty impressive.
In the video below, the owner shows his car parking itself in a narrow garage. Without missing a beat, the car also “summons” the garage door open, slowly slides in, and closes the door behind itself after it is safely in the garage.
Another video features a demo of a Model S parking on the side of the road. From the outside, the car backs up to the parking slot easily, and then slowly adjusts itself. Once done, the car automatically switches to P (park). Inside the car, it shows the driver stopping parallel to the parked car. With a few switches, the car will automatically back up and slides itself to the parking slot.
The Future of Self-Driving Cars
Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently predicted that self-driving cars would be widespread very soon. He states, “In ~2 years, summon should work anywhere connected by land & not blocked by borders, eg you're in LA and the car is in NY.” Realistically, he admitted that the company needs to install more cameras and sensors to enable the cars to be summoned from one city to another. However, he feels that such tech is on the horizon, and as these videos reveal, it very well may be.
Based from the release notes, version 7.1 also enhanced its autosteer feature to make it safer when driving on highways. Other additional features include Homelink auto open/close, display auto brightness, more vehicle locking options, and Trip Planner Improvements.
That said, the Autopark feature is definitely getting all the buzz. With these new features, Tesla is definitely taking a big step towards fully autonomous vehicles.