When I got in the car this morning, a message appeared on the 17 inch display saying a new release of software was successfully installed overnight. The new Tesla version 7.0 introduces significant improvements in autopilot functionality with Autosteer, Auto Lane Change, Autopark, and Side Collision Warning. Similar to the autopilot function in airplanes, you need to maintain maintain control and responsibility of the car, but you potentially gain enjoyment and convenience while the autopilot function drives the model S.
I had a local errand to run about 10 miles away. On the way back home, I got on Interstate 84 and headed west from Danbury, CT. I double-pulled the cruise control stick and the dashboard showed the icons lit up indicating the car was now driving itself. I held the steering wheel loosely and immediately felt a stiffening of the wheel as the Tesla took over. The dozen sensors, radar, ultrasonics, and GPS were continuously watching the road. As I came to the first bend in I-84, the wheel smoothly turned and the speed was maintained. I approached a car in front of me going about 10 mph slower than me. I tapped the left direction signal and the car moved over to the passing lane, accelerated past the slower car and, when clear, returned to the right lane and accelerated back to the speed I had set.
I was planning to fly to D.C. on Monday for The Open Minds Technology & Informatics Institute but after today’s short experience, I decided to drive instead. When I get there perhaps I will try the AutoPark and see how it does at self-parking. Just this short experience shows me the future of cars. I read a forecast somewhere saying by 2050 any human caught driving a car will be arrested because it will be considered too dangerous.