Elon Musk is to make good on promises of new features for the Autopilot software that accompanies its electric cars, indicating that by next year, Tesla cars with the updated Summon feature will be able to park themselves.
The Tesla founder and CEO shed some light on the new feature in response to a Tesla customer’s post on Twitter, in which the fan used the Autopark/Summon feature of his car to move it from the comfort of his office to avoid a parking fine.
— D Shawn Kennedy (@rarelyserious) October 31, 2018
The post did not go unnoticed by Musk, who replied, “Cool haha”.
He followed this up to clarify that while this Tesla customer was using the current version of Autopark/Summon, there would soon be a new version that would allow Tesla cars to park themselves.
“For those unfamiliar, this uses Tesla Autopark/Summon,” Musk said. “Slightly smarter version hopefully ready soon. By next year, a Tesla should be able to drive around a parking lot, find an empty spot, read signs to confirm it’s valid & park.”
For those unfamiliar, this uses Tesla Autopark/Summon. Slightly smarter version hopefully ready soon. By next year, a Tesla should be able to drive around a parking lot, find an empty spot, read signs to confirm it’s valid & park.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 31, 2018
So far, Tesla cars are only able to park themselves from a position close to the actual park (identified by the driver), and can include either reverse parking into a parallel park or into a side-by-side parking space.
The new upgrade will do much more than that – locating an empty park itself, determining how long it can stay there and manoeuvring into the park.
The comment by Musk follows the release of the introduction of Navigate on Autopilot, which was released by the EV maker only last week.
A feature of the newest version of Autopilot software, V9, it assists drivers in lane changes, entering and leaving highways and avoiding the confusion that often ensues when navigating a complex highway interchange.
The new Autopark/Summon feature is expected to be released at the same time as Tesla’s Hardware 3 neural network computer, will will offer a magnitude of awareness to the car than previously possible, thanks to numerous cameras and enhanced processors.
Announced in the Q3 earnings call of last week, the new hardware will require a complete computer change-out, a “very simple plug and play change”, according to Musk.
And it won’t cost any more than the current hardware, says Musk.
“That’ll be roughly a 1,000 increase in processing capability compared to current hardware, it’ll obviously be a giant improvement [and] it costs about the same,” he said in the call.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.