Tesla released a video demonstration of a Model X equipped with its latest self-driving sensor suite, which is going into Tesla’s vehicles right now, and using the most advanced version of the software, which will be pushed to owners gradually throughout the coming year.
The demo shows the Model X self-driving around Palo Alto, near Tesla’s headquarters.
There are parts of the video on the highway which might look just like the Model X is on the current Autopilot, but once the SUV is on the streets of Palo Alto, it becomes clear that the vehicle is powered by something else.
You can watch the car navigate through intersections and take exits. For the grand finale, the “driver”, who is actually just a passenger but in the driver’s seat for legal purposes, exits the vehicle at Tesla’s HQ and the Model X tries to find its own parking space, which is actually extremely useful at this location since Tesla HQ’s parking lot is notoriously busy.
Here’s the video:
The drive you watched here actually started in the hills of Menlo Park – meaning the Model X drove itself from Menlo Park to Palo Alto without inputs from the driver other than probably saying “take me to work”.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk says that “when searching for parking, the car reads the signs to see if it is allowed to park there, which is why it skipped the disabled spot.”
When you have to get back to your, of course, Tesla will not make you try to find it. You can tap ‘Summon’, like the current feature in ‘Tesla Autopilot 1’, but with the new hardware suite Musk says that “it will eventually find you even if you are on the other side of the country” instead of the 39 feet the first generation Autopilot can travel.
Again, the new self-driving hardware suite is going in all vehicles off the assembly line right now, Model S and X. Owners can activate two different levels of sensors for $5,000 and $8,000. Tesla also confirmed that the upcoming Model 3 will also be equipped with the same sensor.
Tesla vehicles with the new hardware suite will not offer Autopilot capabilities on par with the old hardware suite at first, but it will be similar after a few months of software improvements. By early next year, it should start to be better than the current Autopilot and of course, that’s through over-the-air updates.
Eventually, it should enable complete self-driving capabilities for coast-to-coast travel, something Tesla wants to demonstrate next year.