According to a tweet by Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk, the technology-driven automobile manufacturer will be enabling ‘full self-driving features’ in August with the roll-out of Tesla Version 9 software for its vehicles. Tesla is known for pioneering the development of electric vehicles, with the entire range of Tesla cars running on electric power rather than traditional fossil fuels.
Tesla cars have a feature called ‘Autopilot’, which allows the AI in the car to take over some of the functions of driving, including changing lanes, slowing down or stopping, maintaining speed and even parking. The cars are fairly autonomous to the extent of being able to drive themselves already, but are meant to be used with an attentive driver who is ready to take control if he or she senses a potential accident happening. In this regard, it’s unclear what the tweet by Elon Musk means.
That issue is better in latest Autopilot software rolling out now & fully fixed in August update as part of our long-awaited Tesla Version 9. To date, Autopilot resources have rightly focused entirely on safety. With V9, we will begin to enable full self-driving features.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 10, 2018
The discussion on Twitter that led to the tweet the CEO of Tesla was primarily focused on criticism by a Tesla owner on the Autopilot function’s trouble with merging on highways, so it’s likely that the update will bring better levels of safety and more intuitive driving by the AI.
However, full self-driving could also mean that it will be possible to entirely program the destination into the car and have it take you there without any actual input from the driver. In such a case, the driver’s role would only be to remain attentive and take over where human instinct is required. Nonetheless, full self-driving may come to a point where the AI’s decisions and safety programming is superior than even human intuition and instinct.
The software update that brings ‘full self-driving’ is scheduled to roll out to Tesla vehicles in August. Tesla does not official sell its vehicles in India yet, but is actively exploring the possibility to set up its presence in the country. However, people have begun unofficially importing Tesla vehicles into the country, although the infrastructure for electric vehicles in India is still woefully inadequate.