Electric cars are so yesterday. Now the latest trend in automotive technology is all about self-driving vehicles. Google is already testing its self-driving cars as well as the artificial intelligence platforms; Tesla Motors, being one of the leaders in the field, is developing its own driverless car.
Tesla’s future electric cars have already gained worldwide recognition and good name, but Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive, is not going to stop at what has been accomplished. He and his team are putting enormous effort in Tesla’s newest stunning feature—Autopilot.
After new software for the Tesla Model S has been introduced, drivers received a unique feature to try called Autopilot. Although this feature still cannot replace the driver completely, it delivers a number of new safety and convenience features to the driver. Despite being only a beta, Autopilot became extremely popular within a short period of time. People tested it, uploaded reports with attached videos, and even tried to make it perform a prohibited action (for example, let Tesla drive by itself though Tesla Autopilot car is still not capable of full control). Elon Musk announced recruiting of new software engineers, emphasizing that working on Autopilot is a task of extra high priority.
According to Musk, Tesla team will achieve full automation within three years. This system already provides smart cruise control; it can change lanes, scan for parking space, and parallel park on command. According to Tesla, fully self-driving vehicles are “till a few years away”; the Autopilot system functions rather like the systems that airplane pilots use.
It seems that both Tesla Motors and Google are going to create a mass-produced commercial self-driving vehicle in a matter of years. Reacting to such drastic changes, many “traditional” car brands, such as BMW, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Audi, are also introducing advanced self-driving vehicle projects. However, the new feature is still somewhat unreliable, and Tesla engineers have warned drivers to be very careful with the Autopilot.