Elon Musk recently announced that Tesla’s full self-driving capability will improve driver safety even if cars are still legally required to have a human driver — and users could see a huge difference between it and the “Enhanced Autopilot” system in just three to six months.
Musk announced the new software’s timeline while responding Monday to curious Tesla fans on Twitter. Currently, Tesla cars are only partially autonomous. According to Tesla, the line of Hardware 2 cars have all of the necessary equipment for fully autonomous driving, and their version of Enhanced Autopilot is swiftly catching up to the stable version running on older vehicles with Hardware 1.
Fully autonomous software on Teslas would allow the cars to operate without a driver in the car, although whether they would legally be able to do so is still in question.
While waiting for regulation to catch up, Twitter user Stephen Stohn wondered particularly about safety, referring to the new hardware on Teslas: “Will 8 cameras make the Tesla safer in meantime?”
Musk’s response emphasized that even if a driver has to be in the car, having an autonomous system would make it safer.
A fully autonomous system doesn’t need a driver, so this isn’t surprising. Musk’s use of “disallow” is a pointed reminder that in the United States, things are legal unless they are explicitly made illegal. Regulations would have to specifically ban a car from driving without a person — which hasn’t happened yet.