Most industry pundits believe we’re several years out from achieving completely autonomous vehicles. Not Elon Musk, Tesla’s colorful and visionary CEO.
Tesla introduces two new safety features.
Certain models will be able to actively course correct.
New features able to work without Autopilot.
On April 22, at the invitation-only Tesla Autonomy Day for investors, Musk made a(nother) bold proclamation. He estimated that by mid-2020 Tesla’s autonomous systems will have advanced to the point where drivers won’t even have to pay attention to the rode. And Tesla keeps rolling out evidence of its progress, revealing yet two more advancements.
Tesla has announced not one but two new safety features to keep you in your lane, whether you’ve got Autopilot engaged or not: Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance and Lane Departure Avoidance. More than just providing a warning, these systems step in to course correct before things go wrong.
Does Autopilot Actually Drive The Car For You
Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance will steer you back to your original lane if it detects another car or the possibility of a collision in the lane you want to change into. In addition, the system kicks in if the car gets too close to the edge of the road. Although Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance is a default setting, it can be turned off in the Autopilot Controls menu for a particular drive. It will revert back to the default settings afterwards.
An optional setting, Lane Departure Avoidance can be switched on or off at your discretion. When on, the system will take over steering to keep you in your lane, if it detects a move without a turn signal and senses your hands aren’t on the steering wheel. Also, if you’ve got Traffic Aware Cruise Control engaged and your hands aren’t detected on the wheel, the car will slow to 15 mph below the speed limit, or car’s set speed, and start flashing the hazard lights. This feature engages when you’re traveling between 25 and 90mph.
Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance and Lane Departure Avoidance will be available on all Model S, 3 and X customers worldwide with vehicles built after October 2016.
We won’t know if Musk has been wildly optimistic about his timeline for Teslas to reach full autonomous driving capability until summer rolls around next year. What we do know is that Tesla keeps advancing the technology towards reaching that goal. A couple weeks ago, it introduced a feature that allows its cars to change lanes by themselves, if you give them a permission slip. Check out how it works here.
I am someone who likes to bet on long shots and the underdog. I’m rooting for Musk’s prediction to come in.