Tesla, Inc keeps secrets about its product. Though, Tesla Model S might not be the same as that of EV, it is a genuine ‘Autopilot’ hardware.
The only piece of the puzzle missing was the software needed to kick things into action – software Elon Musk has promised will be completed and rolled out prior to the end of the summer.
It was while the Tesla CEO was talking about a possible end to so-called ‘range anxiety’ that he somewhat took the focus wholly off the single-charge range of the Model S and dove head-first into the subject of driverless vehicle automation. Despite the fact that the likes of Google and several others working in the field aren’t expecting to bear fruit for at least five years or so, Musk promised Model-S semi-automation in “about three months.”
And while semi-automation may not sound quite as game-changing, he spoke of Tesla owners being able to take long-distance trips entirely hands-free.
“We can basically go between San Francisco and Seattle without the driver doing anything,” said the CEO.
Of course, the reality of the subject probably isn’t quite as black-and-white as it appears on the surface as while Mr. Musk was in no doubt as to the eventual capabilities of Model S automation, the chances of it being able to fully self-pilot such long distances after the software’s very first rollout are slim to say the least. Instead, it will be a case of the vehicle taking control of the steering only and the system will be limited to highway use, so it’ll still be a case of being 100% focused and involved.
Meanwhile, several high-profile commentators have responded to the announcement with their own somewhat contradictory remarks. For example, Karl Brauer of Kelley Blue Book is adamant that even if the technology does exist and is near-ready to be put into use, the legal and legislative red tape would be far too binding to see things progress so quickly for Tesla.
“There’s a reason other automakers haven’t gone there,” said the analyst.
“It’s not just a philosophical reason why automakers haven’t allowed their vehicles to drive themselves. There’s a legal reason, too.”
In addition, he stated that with a more realistic timescale there’s really nothing that’s off the cards – summer 2015 on the other hand being wholly unrealistic.
“A couple of years is a couple of years; that’s a lot longer than two to three months,” he commented.
“Maybe Musk is hoping that by the summer he can get one state like California to sign off – but even that may be a stretch.”