Electric Self-Driving Cars: is this the future?

On 10th October, Tesla made two huge announcements:

A Dual-motor system in their new cars, making for maximum efficiency, a new top speed and a new 0-60 time, and they released more information about their Autopilot project.

For those of you who are unaware of Tesla you can see the Tesla UK Website here.

So, what is Autopilot?

Autopilot was a proposed theory from Tesla to make efficient, reliable and safe Electric Self-Driving Cars. The idea of self-driving cars has been tossed around for quite some time now. An example would be the Google self-driving car, which has been publicly tested.

In a video posted by Tesla on their YouTube channel, President and CEO Elon Musk said this about Autopilot, and what it’s made up of:

  • A front facing, long range radar to detect oncoming traffic and obstacles. He says that it can see through fog, smoke and pretty much any other weather effect.
  • A front facing camera with detection capabilities. This camera can detect pedestrians, other vehicles, stop signs and traffic lights, which is amazing.
  • A 360° sonar detection rig. This basically creates a metaphorical cocoon around the vehicle that spreads out quite far, and tells the car if something is in it. The car will then decide what action it should take, depending on the circumstances.

Pretty cool right? We think so too!

Which Tesla vehicles support this new hardware?

Well, according to Musk, all Model S cars that were manufactured as of two weeks ago already have the new hardware. Which means that whenever the software is ready and rolled out, people will be able to begin driving with it.

And according to Musk, the new software for the system that will make it work, is due to be released later today.

Will everything work at launch?

Tesla hasn’t given us all of the details about the expected update 7 for Autopilot yet. We have the basics so we know the software will be in the update, but we don’t know how much of it will work. Musk has said that not every feature that Tesla demonstrated last year will be in the update. An example of this is self-parking, which isn’t going to arrive until the update after, which is 7.1.

The new update will also make the interface in the car look different. Musk is quoted saying the dashboard will have “a new-look.”

Want to know more? All of the latest Tesla News can be found here.


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