For years people have fantasized about inventions of the future, such as starships, teleportation, and flying cars. On October 14th an invention that many people have been wanting for decades arrived. Tesla Motors released a software update, Tesla Version 7.0, which allows all of their cars released since 2014, as the update requires certain radar and camera systems, to be self-driving. In short, now self-driving cars are available to the general public for purchase.
For the uniformed, Tesla is an automobile company led by billionaire inventor Elon Musk. Musk is the cofounder of Tesla Motors and PayPal, founder of SpaceX, and has had a hand in several other large companies such as Solar City. Tesla Motors is a world leader and innovator of electric cars, selling the world’s first electric vehicle with a range of over 200 miles, the Tesla Roadster. Today, they offer only two models, the Model S and the Model X, both being high-priced electric luxury cars.
Tesla Version 7.0 relieves drivers of, “the most tedious and potentially dangerous aspects of road travel…” according to Tesla Motors. Although the cars are not completely self-driving, the car can drive itself down the freeway on its own, whether it is empty or rush hour, and in various other environments. However, the car will refuse to self-drive in areas where there are issues with road markings, and the car requires the driver to top at stoplights. If the car feels you should take over it’ll make a small beeping noise, and if it needs you to take over it will make an extremely loud noise. The car can even merge lanes, and Parallel Park at the push of a button, when possible.
There are still kinks to work out in the system most drivers have notices, having close calls occasionally, but there have also been videos and reports of the autopilot function avoiding head on collisions and averting dangerous situations. Also, the new software includes a “learning” function that “teaches” the car as it drives more and more using autopilot. Tesla plans on future updates to improve the autopilot function, and expand the areas that it is capable of driving in.