Tesla is making big changes to Autopilot. On Friday, CEO Elon Musk revealed that the company plans to update its semi-autonomous driving system to bring the “summon” feature to the Tesla Model 3. The update is set to come as part of a broader push to make Tesla’s cars run smoother.
In response to a question from Tesla fan Ryan McCaffrey, Musk wrote on Twitter that he plans to bring “summon” to the company’s newest car, which entered production in July 2017. This feature, already present on the Model S and Model X and introduced in the fall of 2015, enables the car to open a garage, enter, close the door, park and switch off. It can also do the reverse when you need to leave again. Tesla vehicles manufactured after October 2016 use the same setup of cameras, sensors, ultrasonic radar and GPS to enable these features, with an Nvidia Drive PX 2 on board capable of supporting over-the-air software updates.
It’s a strong assertion from Musk, whose company is currently working to develop Autopilot from a system that drives the car in limited circumstances to one that can perform point-to-point autonomous driving. The company sells Autopilot as an add-on for $5,000 when purchased with the car or $6,000 thereafter. Full self-driving is available as a pre-order option for $3,000 with the car, a price that Musk indicated at the most recent earnings call would rise to $5,000.
If the project is progressing as indicated, the “summon” release should come a few months before Tesla demonstrates coast-to-coast autonomous driving. Originally slated for a 2017 launch, Musk later explained in February that “we could have done the coast-to-coast drive but it would have required too much specialized code to effectively game it, or make it somewhat brittle in that it would work for one particular route but not be a general solution.”
Musk said in the same call that he’s “pretty excited about how much progress we’re making on the neural net front,” and that “time-wise I think we could probably do a coast-to-coast drive in three months, six months at the outside.”
Teslas are driving themselves out of garages today, and soon they may complete the whole journey.