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Tesla Launches ‘Autopilot’ Update that Can Control Motors, Braking and Steering


Image credit: Tesla Motor S by Raneko, via Wikimedia Commons.

It is now possible for Tesla drivers in North America to be equipped with an “autopilot” mode just by updating their car software. Although this latest feature would not enable the cars to become totally self-driving machines, it could allow drivers to easily deal with some dangerous situations as well as stay relaxed in some annoying stages of driving.

Tesla’s efforts made in self-driving technology have been increasingly remarkable. Starting from last October, the company has equipped its Model S car with the forward radar, a forward-looking camera, installed with 12 long-range ultrasonic sensors for detecting the area of 5 meters around the car in every direction at all speeds. At the same time, this model also has a high-precision, digitally-controlled electric assist braking system, which would interpret all this data and then operate accordingly in functions of steering down the highway, altering lanes and adjusting the speed of the vehicle in traffic.

While the autopilot function could not replace the driver completely, it is strongly believed by Tesla Motors that it would strengthen confidence of drivers, because the car could be capable of avoiding collisions by the means of controlling motors, brakes and steering. In addition, it would be much helpful when it is the time for parking, since the car could scan for vacant spots and parallel park on command.

With its marvelous benefits to drivers, this software still has limitations. Talking of such limits, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla said that basically it did like a person – how well could a driver work out which route he or she should take. Over time, it would be much better in some respects than a driver in the long term, because it would never become tired, never have intention to drink something, and it would never argue with someone in the car. More importantly, it is always concentrated on driving.

Apart from Tesla, there are some other automobile manufacturers investing in the development of autonomous features in their cars. Up to now Google has been testing driverless cars for the past years. It is hoped that such cars would be available in the market in 2020.

Source: BBC News

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