Owners of the Tesla Model S pure-electric sedan ought to be delighted to learn that the promised, semi-autonomous “Tesla Autopilot” system is undergoing beta testing in the hands of a select few customers.
This, of course, means that the Tesla Autopilot feature is that much closer to a full roll-out to Model S customers everywhere via over-the-air software patch.
Teslarati reports that beta testers for the forthcoming system have been secretive about the experience, likely due to a fear of being ejected from the group. But, we do know that Tesla Autopilot system builds off of functionality already introduced earlier this year – namely, the Model S’ Traffic-Aware Cruise Control – with a new “Autosteer” feature.
“We don’t want to set the expectation that you can basically pay no attention to what the car is doing,” said Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk last week during a conference call. He conceded that the Tesla Autopilot system functions best when the Model S is following another vehicle on the road.
“You basically have high confidence in steering, braking and acceleration, basically when you are in some kind of traffic situation where there is a car right in front of you,” said Musk. “I think it’s pretty good in the absence of that, so if there’s just lanes, it’s pretty good. And it will get better over time as we refine the software.”