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Tesla Autopilot V7

Two weeks after formalizing the Tesla Model X, Elon Musk has just announced the arrival of Autopilot functionality on the Model S and X. This software update allows Tesla's electric cars to take the road to autonomous driving.

Tesla Model S Bleue

The Tesla Model S and Model X are futuristic or at least decidedly forward-looking cars, with their electric motor and dashboard more reminiscent of a space shuttle than a car. For a few months, the firm of Elon Musk had chosen owners of a Model S to test the Autopilot functionality supposed to bring the Tesla closer to an autonomous car. Good news: software update 7.0 brings Autopilot functionality to all owners of a Tesla Model S and X manufactured after September 2014. However, it will cost $2,500 to activate the functionality.

Sensors to see the world

Tesla's Autopilot is very similar to what is already being done in the field of autonomous cars such as the Google Car. The Teslas are equipped with radar and a camera in the front, ultrasonic sensors all around the car to spot objects about 5 meters away as well as precise GPS. The Autopilot then gathers all the information (and sends it back to Tesla's servers to improve the autonomous driving of all the brand's cars) to allow partial autonomous driving.

Capteurs GPS Tesla

Almost autonomous driving

The Tesla Model S and X can then stay in a line on the highway (the steering wheel turns by itself in the curves) and adapt their speed according to the obstacles or the cars preceding them without having to touch the steering wheel. If the driver activates the turn signal, the car will automatically change lanes if the safety conditions are met. In the event of an imminent accident, the car is able to automatically brake and even change course to avoid the collision. Finally, the Tesla Model S and X can park on their own in a parallel space (bye bye the slots).

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Automatic parking is coming

Since the update of the software part of the Tesla is done in OTA, the Autopilot will improve as it goes. Elon Musk has already promised on Twitter that version 7.1 of the on-board software will bring automatic parking. The driver will have to get out of the car, which will park itself or pick up the driver at the exit of the car park. With this update, Tesla is the first manufacturer to offer a commercial car with so many autonomous driving features and is gradually catching up with Google in terms of innovation.

Our opinion: Fine then! We have been waiting for this for so long, what a surprise to learn that it is imminent. Yes, imminent only. The update is rolling out in America, but is slow to arrive in Europe and Asia. A usual delay (updates are never sent to all Teslas at once) to which is added, according to Elon Musk's last tweet, a delay due to regulatory "problems":

Tesla is not the first to offer semi-autonomous driving (for example the latest Q7 Audi does the same). But like Apple, Tesla knows how to bring an additional experience to its users (Park Assist is good, the car that comes out of the garage itself, closes the door and starts to heat up, it's better).

One thing is certain: Black Birds will be able to show you this very soon because yes, our vehicles fit well in those affected by this update. What a beautiful gift for the one year of the black bird...

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