It is way past 1 a.m. Thursday morning on the West Coast but that means nothing to Tesla Motors’ owner Elon Musk who just released additional details of the latest updates to the company’s autonomous vehicles. Musk also said that retrofitting existing Tesla cars with full self-driving hardware is both difficult and expensive, making it cheaper and simpler to buy a new vehicle instead.
Musk’s series of tweets began with a video — set to the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black” — that shows a Model S driving through urban city streets, onto a highway, back to the streets and finding itself a parking spot. The video shows various camera angles the car uses to read its surroundings intercut with shots from inside the car. When the man sitting behind the wheel (only for legal reasons) reaches his destination, he gets out while the car parks itself. The car stops for someone walking across the parking lot and also reads parking signs to detect eligible spots, thereby skipping a spot reserved for disabled people.
Another cool feature is the new “Summon” button available on the Tesla smartphone app. In a move reminiscent of the Batmobile, tapping that button will literally send a signal to the car, which will drive itself to wherever you (and your phone) are. Theoretically and given enough charge, it is possible even from one coast to the other.
Musk also tweeted about the prototype of an automatic metal snake charger, first seen in 2015, that finds the charging spot in the Tesla vehicles on its own.