Subscribe to Breaking News emails

You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.

Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.

Tesla's 'Autopilot' Update Goes Live for Model S With Lane Change, Autosteer

by Devin Coldewey /
Tesla

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk on Wednesday unveiled the 7.0 "Autopilot" software update for the company's Model S sedan. The update adds a multitude of features for automated highway driving — if you're brave enough to let the car take over control, that is.

"While truly driverless cars are still a few years away, Tesla Autopilot functions like the systems that airplane pilots use when conditions are clear," the company wrote in a blog post. "The driver is still responsible for, and ultimately in control of, the car."

Using the car's built-in battery of sensors, the updated software will allow for a sort of extra-powerful cruise control. The "Autosteer" function (described as being in "beta") keeps the car in the lane even when the road changes direction — you'll still need to keep your hands on the wheel, though, just in case.

The Model S knows its proximity to other cars and shows that info on the dashboard display.
The Model S knows its proximity to other cars and shows that info on the dashboard display.Tesla

"Auto lane change" is available once Autosteer has been enabled: If you want to get out from behind a slow driver or semitruck, just tip the turn signal to the right or left and the Tesla will wait for a safe opportunity to move to the lane in that direction.

"Autopark" is just what it sounds like, and is surely welcome to anyone who hasn't mastered the fine art of parallel parking. Pull up next to a spot at low speed and a "P" will appear on the dash indicating that the car has detected it. Hit the button on the main touchscreen panel and the car will take over, pulling you into the spot without your having to touch the controls.

Related: Fax Machines in Cars? That's What We Wanted in the 1990s

The car will also alert you when obstacles or other vehicles are in unsafe proximity.

The software update should be available starting Thursday to Model S owners.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news