Elon Musk doubled down on Tesla Motors’ autonomous driving features today, saying that every vehicle produced from now on will offer the option of full self-driving capability. But that capability won’t be turned on immediately.
Like its rivals, Tesla predicts full autonomy will make our roads much safer. To that end, every car that rolls off of its Fremont, California, assembly line is equipped with eight 360-degree cameras that can “see” for about 275 yards, no less than 12 ultrasonic sensors, and a forward-sensing radar. Finally, all of this data is processed by a more powerful on-board computer.
Interestingly, cars equipped with the new hardware will temporarily lack relatively basic features such as automatic emergency braking, collision warning, lane holding, and adaptive cruise control. Tesla explains it’s still calibrating the new system, and it expects the full suite of electronic driving aids will be ready by December.
The hardware already equips the Model S and the Model X, and it will come standard on every single Model 3 (pictured) built. However, buyers will need to wait a while for the software to arrive. Speaking on a conference call, company co-founder and CEO Elon Musk predicted a Tesla will be able to drive from Los Angeles to New York without any input from the driver by the end of next year.
The bad news for current owners is that there’s no way to upgrade to the new, autonomous-ready hardware. Tesla will continue to improve and fine-tune its existing Autopilot technology, however.
Musk revealed the autonomous tech will launch as an $8,000 option. In comparison, the brand’s Autopilot software is currently priced at $3,000.