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Tesla’s New Autopilot Confirmed by Elon Musk

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A member of the media test drives a Tesla Motors Inc. Model S car equipped with Autopilot in Palo Alto, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. Tesla Motors Inc. will begin rolling out the first version of its highly anticipated "autopilot" features to owners of its all-electric Model S sedan Thursday. Autopilot is a step toward the vision of autonomous or self-driving cars, and includes features like automatic lane changing and the ability of the Model S to parallel park for you. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesA couple of months ago, rumors surfaced around Tesla Motors possibly introducing a new version of autopilot for their electric cars.

As many people groaned in outrage, lamenting the new car they had just picked out, others were overjoyed and look towards the new technology Tesla will introduce. Elon Musk confirmed the autopilot features in a conference call with Mobileye, a technological company that excels in creating collision avoidance systems.

In 2014, the Model S was released, equipped with the first autopilot feature. This feature allowed the car to self parallel-park, cruise control with traffic awareness, and change lanes automatically. Not only was the car innovative, it received a five star safety rating in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash test.

The new autopilot will exceed its predecessor in capability. The  vehicles will be set to have an 8 camera system, increasing the car’s autopilot capacities. Musk commented on the validity of adding new cameras, saying “cameras are crucial. There are no other sensor that have enough details of the scene to interpret it like we do.”

He also commented on the eight-camera system, saying:

“Today we are already preparing with one of the OEM [original equipment manufacturer], a first vehicle based on 8 cameras, one radar and ultrasonic around the vehicle. So this is much wider implementation of the first introduction of semi-autonomous driving, and the trifocal is going to be here as we planned, but additional 4 cameras around the vehicle and one camera looking back. The system will run on 5 EyeQ3 chips and all of them will be connected.”

The added cameras would eliminate blind spots, and allow the vehicle a more comprehensive view of its surroundings.

While there is no release date set yet for the new innovations implanted by Tesla, hopeful consumers speculate anywhere from two to four years before these cars hit the streets.

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