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You’ll soon be able to put your Tesla Model S on ‘autopilot’

Published Mar 19th, 2015 6:00PM EDT
Tesla Model S Self-Driving

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Tesla’s electric cars are a dream come true for some drivers, but that doesn’t mean the amazing vehicles can’t get even better. In addition to its Thursday announcement aimed at ending “range anxiety” in Tesla cars, the company also announced that the Model S will receive a software update that will enable limited automated driving, The Verge reports.

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CEO Elon Musk said that the update will bring “autopilot” abilities to the Model S that would let the car drive itself without requiring user interaction.

“We can basically go between San Francisco and Seattle without the driver doing anything,” he said, although the system can only be used on highways and on private properties.

“It is technically capable of going from parking lot to parking lot,” Musk said. “But we won’t be enabling that for users with this hardware suite, because we don’t think it’s likely to be safe in suburban neighborhoods.”

The system might not be good enough to adapt to suburban streets, which often lack speed signs, and might be dangerous to children playing in the street.

Additionally, drivers would be able to summon a Model S to their location, or tell the car to park itself, though these more advanced features are still illegal in the U.S. and thus won’t be available to American drivers.

Moreover, drivers should also pay attention to what’s happening on the road even if they won’t be actually driving the vehicle, Tesla advised.

“There’s certainly an expectation that when autopilot on the Model S is enabled, that you’re paying attention. But it should also take care of you if you have moments of distraction,” Musk said.

Tesla isn’t the only company working on self-driving car technology, as Google is working on such technology of its own. Other interesting electric and/or self-driving cars are also in development from tech giants such as Apple and also from regular carmakers.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.