Tesla showcases 3 self-driving features: Summon, Autopilot, and Autopark (video)
Self-driving vehicles that are at least partially autonomous are no longer science-fiction. Google has had prototypes driving around for a few years and last year Tesla became the first company to offer highway 'auto-steering' capabilities to its customers (via a software update!). Since then, the software has kept getting better, and Elon Musk has said in interviews that he thinks self-driving cars are basically a "solved problem", with all that's needed now being refinement over the next few years so that safety and reliability becomes a few order of magnitude higher than with human drivers.
The latest feature to be added to the Autopilot package was 'Summon', the ability to use a smartphone app to tell the car to go wait for you in the driveway or by the curb:
Using Summon, once you arrive home and exit Model S or Model X, you can prompt it to do the rest: open your garage door, enter your garage, park itself, and shut down. In the morning, you wake up, walk out the front door, and summon your car. It will open the garage door and come to greet you. More broadly, Summon also eliminates the burden of having to squeeze in and out of tight parking spots. During this Beta stage of Summon, we would like customers to become familiar with it on private property. Eventually, your Tesla will be able to drive anywhere across the country to meet you, charging itself along the way. It will sync with your calendar to know exactly when to arrive.
The release of Tesla Version 7.1 software is the next step toward developing fully autonomous driving capabilities and delivering them through over-the-air software updates, keeping our customers at the forefront of driving technology in the years ahead.
Here's a video that shows 'Summon' in action:
Tesla has also just released a new video that brings it all together and shows the Summon, highway Autosteer, and Autopark features:
One of the less publicized but potentially most important features of Autopilot is the autobrake, which can help avoid accidents by reacting faster than a human driver can, such as in this video: