I mentioned in the past a few of times how Tesla is positioning itself to give its cars fully autonomous driving capabilities. So far this has been the deduction from all the hardware that Teslas were equipped with, but now Tesla-CEO Elon Musk confirmed them. In a tweet Musk announced full self-driving capabilities for all Teslas manufactured since October 19th, 2016 and equipped with the Autopilot Hardware Kit 2 in maybe three, but not more than six months.
This functionality is more than just an Enhanced Autopilot. Currently its ‘just’ Enhanced Cruise Control, Summon, Autosteer, holding and changing lanes, or automatic parking. In the last days the enhanced Autopilot feature was rolled out to all owners of a Tesla with the new Autopilot Hardware Kit, which now enables the active use of the hardware kit.
Tesla demonstrated already in a video how a Tesla drives fully autonomously from a supermarket in Los Altos to the Tesla-HQd in Palo Alto. Another video shows the car driving along Sandhill Road, entering Highway 280, and ending at the Tesla-HQ in Palo Alto.
Musk’s announcement brings us self-driving cars faster than even optimistic experts have thought. And that’s urgently needed. An investigation by the NHTSA of a fatal accident involving the Autopilot stated that not only Tesla is not to blame for the accident, Teslas with Autopilot have decreased accident rates by 40 percent. Musk even expects that those number with the coming Autopilot updates could drop by 90 percent.If all cars in the US were equipped with today’s Autopilot, the number of fatalities could sink from roughly 38,000 to 22,800 per year, and with the coming updates even to a number of 380. Also the number of injured could drop from 1.2 million today to 120.000 only. This means a total of 34.200 fatalities and 1.08 million injured fewer per year!