Tesla Motors has updated the software of their current range of Model S and X cars to version 7.1. This version brings a new 'Summon' feature to the operating system of the car which lets the vehicle park itself in the garage and also unpark itself and come out on to the driveway. Drivers can accsss this feature via their connected smartphone or through a button on their Tesla key. This latest feature takes Tesla motors one step further towards vehicle automation.
Using the new Summon feature, Model X and S users can prompt the car to park itself. This means, the car will open the garage door, enter the garage or parking spot, park itself and shut itself down. The Summon feature also works when you want to go somewhere. Once the car is summoned, it will come out of the garage or its parking spot on its own. However, Tesla does remind its customers that during this early beta stage, customers will have to make the car familiar with their private property. The company claims, “eventually, your Tesla will be able to drive anywhere across the country to meet you, charging itself along the way. It will sync with your calendar to know exactly when to arrive.”
Earlier, in October 2015, Tesla released 7.0 update, which brought an autopilot feature to its Model S. The feature allowed Tesla Model S to steer within a lane, change lanes when the turn signal is tapped and automatically manage speeds by using active cruise control which is aware of the traffic around it. This feature relies cameras, radar, ultrasonics, and GPS of the device. The feature also makes use of the various tech onboard the car to digitally control the electric motors, brakes and even the steering, adding to the safety of the car. This update also added features like auto parallel parking in which the car scans for space and parallel parks itself on command.
Tesla is not the only company who is testing self driving cars, many other car companies such as Ford, Kia, BMW, Mercedes, etc are working on their early prototypes. Google is already in the process of testing its automonous car and according to rumors, Apple is likely to dip its toes as well. However, at the moment, the technology and the infrastructure to support this technology is still at a very early stage and we might have to wait a while to see a fully autonomous car.