Tesla’s electric cars can start driving themselves as of today

The folks at Google might be experimenting with self-driving cars, but Tesla plans to turn a large portion of its automotive fleet into vehicles that can get you to your destination with little human assistance. Welcome to the scary, lazy future.

The electric car manufacturer plants roll out version 7.0 of its Model S software today, which will enable the car’s self-driving features. No, you can’t just punch in a destination on the touch screen and take a nap. It’s not that good. But the tech will keep a car rolling along once it's already in a lane, and take into account other vehicles and proper speed to keep you moving along with little input.

The company is calling this a beta feature for now, so (again!) don’t hit the button and take a nap. But it’s a big step toward the “auto-pilot” mode teased a while back, which would allow the car to park itself and come pick up the driver at the press of a button.

Even with those awesome advancements, the new update also opens up the vehicle’s Auto Lane Change function (which does pretty much what it sounds like), AutoPark (which scans for parking and automatically jumps in the closest spot) and Automatic Emergency Steering and Side Collision Warning (which are designed to avoid crashes, basically).

To make it all work, The Verge notes Tesla has placed four major sensors on the newer models, facing in each direction. The company will essentially be crowdsourcing maps data from its fleet of vehicles, so the features should get more reliable with each passing day. Clever move. 

What’s your take on this self-driving tech? Do you trust a computer more than yourself? Or, for that matter, more than the guy barreling toward you at 70 mph?

(Via The Verge)

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