The Tesla Semi is reshaping the future in more ways than one. Tesla CEO Elon Musk shared a screenshot on Monday of an Autopilot interface that shows a Mad Max blind spot option, while also suggesting in a tongue-in-cheek tweet that the upcoming all-electric semi truck will offer the mode.
The image shows Tesla working on different levels of blind spot aggression for its semi-autonomous Autopilot mode. It’s unclear how the varying levels will change — the screen lists “standard,” “aggressive” and “Mad Max” — but it could change how the vehicle moves between lanes depending on the position of other cars in the user’s blind spot. Musk also joked that “we considered going beyond Mad Max to ‘LA Freeway’ level, but that’s too loco.” However, as for whether the options would make their way into a shipping version of the software, with a balance between safety and control necessary, Musk noted: “It’s a tough call. Reality is that it will be pretty easy to bully a self-driving car, as it will always yield. Will prob have a manual override that requires continuous press for hardcore lane changes.”
Tesla currently offers two tiers of Autopilot to buyers. The “Enhanced Autopilot” adds features like lane change and following traffic, unlocking these capabilities via a software update to use the combinations of cameras and sensors present in every shipping Tesla since October 2016. These cameras and sensors can also power the “full self-driving” tier of Autopilot, expected to move from a system where the computer drives in a limited set of circumstances with user assist to a system where the car can drive point-to-point with no user intervention.
While Tesla is currently taking pre-orders for the “full self-driving” tier, it’s unclear when the feature will make its way to users’ hands. Musk suggested at a recent earnings call that the feature could enable coast-to-coast autonomous drives at some point this year.
The more advanced tier may soon receive exclusive features that make the $3,000 asking price worth its while. Musk claimed earlier this month that Autopilot version 9.0, set to ship in August, will start to enable full autonomy features. As for the Tesla Semi, that’s expected to hit the roads next year.
Mad Max-powered autonomous truck rides may be just around the corner.