The new and improved Tesla Autopilot is coming.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that, as of Wednesday, people can buy Tesla cars that come with a suite of new hardware that improves Autopilot’s capabilities like never before. The new version of Autopilot, aptly named Enhanced Autopilot, will be made available via over-the-air updates in December, pending regulatory approval. It will cost $5,000.
Musk also said the hardware will allow Tesla cars to be fully driverless further down the line.
Here’s a breakdown of Enhanced Autopilot’s capabilities:
First generation Autopilot provides Tesla with a host of semi-autonomous capabilities, especially following its software upgrade, Version 8, in September. Since that time, Tesla cars with Autopilot have been able to auto steer, change lanes with the tap of a signal, look for parking spots, park perpendicularly, and self-parallel park.
The first-generation system also comes with active cruise control, the ability to exit off ramps when the signal is on, and be summoned remotely from your garage.
But Enhanced Autopilot adds to those pre-existing capabilities. The new system relies on four cameras, a radar sensor, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and a new onboard computer system to work.
1. Thanks to Enhanced Autopilot, Tesla cars will be able to match their speed to traffic conditions. That means the cars will be able to drive themselves in heavy traffic.
2. But it also means the cars can move to a faster lane when stuck behind slower traffic. That means the cars can now change lanes without requiring input like before.
3. Tesla cars with Enhanced Autopilot will be able to seamlessly transition from one freeway to another without any driver assistance.
4. The vehicles can also exit the freeway when your destination is near without requiring you to turn on the turn signal first. The car will automatically signal for you, as well.
5. Enhanced Autopilot is giving the Autosteer function a boost, allowing the cars to navigate tighter and more complex roads.
6. Tesla's Summon feature is also getting a boost with the new system. The car can now navigate more complex environments when summoned, so it will manoeuvre around objects to come find you.
You can only use Enhanced Autopilot if you get a new Tesla Model S or Model X because it relies on new hardware. The Model 3, which will start rolling out at the end of 2017, will come with the new hardware suite. In any case, you need to pay an extra $5,000 on top of the car's base price to access Enhanced Autopilot.
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