On October 10, Elon Musk unveiled the world's first dual electric motor production car and announced that new safety and autopilot hardware is standard on every new Model S. By putting more and more autonomous capabilities in a car, Tesla has moved a step closer towards Self Driving Cars. Google is working on Self Driving cars that does not require human intervention. Currently, a number of auto companies are experimenting with self-driving vehicles in California. Elon Musk promised Tesla will have a car next year that will be 90-percent capable of auto-pilot.
Tesla D features include a long-range radar, image recognition so the vehicle can "see" things like stop signs and pedestrians, and a 360-degree ultrasonic sonar. The car can park itself in a garage, turn on the air conditioning in advance of a trip and recognize obstacles on the road. It is capable of going from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a mere 3.2 seconds.
New Safety Features and Autopilot
The launch of Dual Motor Model S coincides with the introduction of a standard hardware package that will enable autopilot functionality. Every single Model S now rolling out of the factory includes a forward radar, 12 long range ultrasonic sensors positioned to sense 16 feet around the car in every direction at all speeds, a forward looking camera, and a high precision, digitally controlled electric assist braking system.
Building on this hardware with future software releases, Tesla will deliver a range of active safety features, using digital control of motors, brakes, and steering to avoid collisions from the front, sides, or from leaving the road.
Model S will be able to steer to stay within a lane, change lanes with the simple tap of a turn signal, and manage speed by reading road signs and using active, traffic aware cruise control. On top of that, Tesla's cars will also be able to park themselves at home - the driver can get out and let the car do the rest of the work. It will take several months for all Autopilot features to be completed and uploaded to the cars. Tesla's Autopilot is a way to relieve drivers of the most boring and potentially dangerous aspects of road travel - but the driver is still responsible for, and ultimately in control of, the car.
The Autopilot hardware opens up some exciting long term possibilities. Imagine having your car check your calendar in the morning (a feature introduced in Software v6.0), calculate travel time to your first appointment based on real time traffic data, automatically open the garage door with Homelink, carefully back out of a tight garage, and pull up to your door ready for your commute. Of course, it could also warm or cool your car to your preferences and select your favorite morning news stream.