Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a big announcement Wednesday night when the world had their attention turned to the presidential debate.
Musk announced that Tesla vehicles currently in production — which includes the Model X, Model S, and future Model 3 — will be equipped with new hardware that will enable them to be fully driverless. A Tesla vehicle will drive itself from Los Angeles to New York by the end of 2017 as a demonstration of the new technology.
Since fully driverless cars have yet to secure regulatory approval, owners of the new Tesla cars won’t be able to turn on the self-driving capability just yet. However, the new hardware suite is providing Tesla cars with new Autopilot capabilities that customers could tap into as early as December of this year.
Tesla cars on the road today have Tesla’s first generation Autopilot system that allows the cars to auto steer, change lanes, and merge onto highways. Convenience features built into first-generation Autopilot have also allowed the cars to park themselves, both in a perpendicular and parallel fashion.
The new hardware update is improving Autopilot, giving it the new name Enhanced Autopilot, and paving the way for Tesla cars to become fully autonomous later down the road. Here’s our breakdown of the new system: