A new update is coming for recent Tesla cars that will enable it to follow the owner “like a pet,” CEO Elon Musk revealed on Thursday. The forthcoming software release, set for launch in just six weeks’ time, will boost the semi-autonomous Tesla Autopilot mode and its “Summon” feature.
The update is perhaps the biggest expansion to “Summon” since its launch in the fall of 2015, initially offered as a limited feature where the car can “open your garage door, enter your garage, park itself, and shut down,” as well as perform the reverse move and maneuver into parking spaces. The news follows teases from Musk last month that a big new update to Autopilot is on the way. Musk explained that the new update will work on the “Hardware 2” platform, covering all cars produced after October 2016. The car will drive to the owner’s location and follow the user when they hold down the “Summon” button in the smartphone app.
Musk also claims users will be able to drive their car remotely “like a big RC car” if the owner has line of sight with the vehicle. While details are thin on this latter feature, Musk states that Tesla could offer remote control from further away, but the company will require line of sight for safety purposes.
Tesla has big plans for its developing autonomous features. While Autopilot is billed as an assist feature that requires a driver behind the wheel, Tesla hopes to use the same suite of cameras and sensors to offer upgrades to full autonomous driving powered by an in-house A.I. chip. The company hopes to one day enable Summon to “drive anywhere across the country to meet you, charging itself along the way. It will sync with your calendar to know exactly when to arrive.”
Tesla is expected to roll out its Summon update within six weeks, placing launch time around mid December.
With the cold weather conditions, the new Summon feature could face a tough launch.