Hours after taking the lid off a long-kept secret, Tesla founder Elon Musk gave the world its first glimpse of one of the company’s cars driving itself in a new video. Every Tesla rolling out of the factories after this week’s announcement will have the necessary hardware for autonomous capabilities. The company is aiming for the feature to go live in 2017, when the company has gathered more real-world driving data.
Musk also revealed a few tidbits about how the self-driving capabilities will work. “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,” he said on Twitter Thursday morning. “When you want your car to return, tap summon on your phone. It will eventually find you, even if you are on the other side of the country.”
The system is set to boast level 5 autonomy, the highest possible tier, where steering wheels are basically pointless. Previously, Teslas had limited autonomy under the Autopilot system, but the feature was largely limited to driving down highways and switching lanes.
Taking advantage of the new update, the vehicles being shipped will have new hardware and cameras. Hardware 2, as the platform is known, features a larger array of in-vehicle cameras capable of capturing massive amounts of data. Radar, used by the latest version of autopilot, enables vehicles to see things the human eye would not be able to detect.
Although the vehicle has a steering wheel and driver in the video, Tesla is keen to point out that the driver is “only there for legal reasons.”
Watch the new feature in action here: