Following on the heels of the all-new BMW 7 Series, Tesla rolled out the latest version (7.1) of its Autopilot software recently. The main feature of the software update is “Summon”, which will allow Autopilot-equipped cars to be able to semi-autonomously pull itself from the driveway into the garage, effectively parking itself. This particular feature will be useful for those that live in areas that experience consistent inclement weather.
Tesla founder Elon Musk took it a step further and boldly predicted that within a couple of years, Teslas would be able to deliver themselves to their new owner. Musk used an example where a new Tesla owner would reside in California, but their new Tesla is in New York. Normally one would have to contact and coordinate with a vehicle delivery company that will pick up the vehicle and deliver it to the owner.
But instead, the Tesla will do it autonomously.
Musk admitted that his prediction would be “slightly optimistic”, and that in order for this to be executed, more hardware would have to be installed than what is currently in place. Another potential blocker for his vision/dream is that although the fallback on the “Summon” feature is for the owner to take over (and possibly prevent an accident), there is no fail-safe in place for a cross-country drive.
In addition to the upgrades in hardware (and software updates), the Tesla would have to map out a route according to the locations of the Superchargers, in conjunction with the automated charging system that is in the prototype phase at this point. Musk stated that the charging system would have to show up first at the Superchargers (in order to gather some real-world data), before it could be rolled out to the owners themselves.
If Musk and company can pull this off, it would be a game changer in every sense of the word. Only time will tell…
Photo Credit: Tesla Motors