The Tesla Model 3 is getting smarter, with over-the-air software updates boosting the car’s autonomous features. On Thursday, CEO Elon Musk shared a video of the car using its newly-released “Summon” feature, already present on the Model S and Model X, which enables to car to move in and out of a garage and prepare for the road with the touch of a smartphone app button.
The feature links up to an electronic garage door to automatically open and close, as well as switching the car on and off when it’s ready to leave. “Summon” is part of the “enhanced Autopilot” package offered as part of Tesla’s upgrades list, and it was first introduced by the company in the fall of 2015. Musk, who only revealed last month that the feature would come to the Model 3, noted on his Twitter page that “no one is in the car or controlling remotely,” and the “car is driving entirely by itself.”
The Model 3 is the focal point of Tesla’s current operations, as it works to fulfil the hundreds of thousands of $1,000 reservations and convert them into electric cars starting at $35,000, the firm’s cheapest car ever. When it entered production in July 2017, Musk expected the firm to reach a production rate of around 5,000 per week by the end of that year. The final stats showed the company produced just 202 cars per week in the fourth quarter, but it’s rapidly turned things around by reaching 2,000 per week in April and 7,000 per week at the start of the month.
“Summon” is one component of Tesla’s autonomy plans. The company offers enhanced Autopilot as a $5,000 add-on when ordered with the car, rising to $6,000 after purchase. Full self-driving, expected to enable autonomous drives coast-to-coast later this year, is available at $3,000 at the time of the car’s purchase and $5,000 thereafter. Musk suggested at the annual shareholder meeting last month that the company may offer a free Autopilot trial in July.
All eyes are on Tesla’s next delivery report, where it’s expected to provide stats on how many Model 3s shipped in the most recent quarter.
It’s set to be a dramatic report — Musk claimed it would “explode” Wall Street short sellers’ negative stance on Tesla.