Tesla is the electric car maker who have successfully rolled out Model S cars to the public, despite their heavy price tag. The company has now rolled out a mode named ‘Auto Pilot’ which makes the car into an autonomous vehicle, that could drive on its own.
The mode will be available as a software update only for Model S owners, not all but every car which has a radar and cameras integrated onto them. The company has been testing this semi-automatic mode for some time now and after giving it a shot, one should say that they have definitely done a good job of it.
In order to ensure that it works perfectly, Tesla wants you to do some actions to let the Model S electric car drive on its own. In other words, it’s not fully autonomous for safety purposes and relies on the driver to do tasks to avoid any potential risks. The car will ask you to touch the steering wheel every couple seconds but it is capable of accelerating, braking and staying on the road on its own without any assistance.
In the first set of tests, the Tesla Model S and some Model X cars which have received the updated managed to clock in a decent 18 miles without the driver doing anything at all. The car stayed on the lane and maintained a constant speed with occasional braking, ensuring a smooth ride for everyone. Besides, to avoid any legal issues and accidents, the company advices drivers to keep their hands on the steering at all times or at least every few seconds.
Such precautions made it much easier to roll out the feature and they call it semi-autonomous, another move that paved way for the self-driving cars Google dream of. If the driver doesn’t touch the steering after few seconds, the car will automatically slow down and bring safety measures into position. It can change lanes with minimal assistance and when you completely grab hold of the wheel, the car will deactivate its autopilot mode and let you start driving.
Apart from the autonomous mode, the Tesla Model S and the Model X has received new visual display, bigger app windows for easy navigation, clock display and the ability to lock or unlock the vehicle using a status bar as found in smartphones.