Tesla Motors has been criticized for not including any kind of driver assist features in the Model S. Driver Assist features are commonplace among not only luxury cars, but regular cars, now. Some of them take care of tasks like parallel parking, while others help the driver do so safely. Supposedly.
Last year I broke a story on this blog, being the first to report Tesla was hiring sensor engineers to develop automated driving features. Later confirmed by Tesla. I’d assumed it would take a couple years for anything to show up in shipping cars, but it appears that Tesla Motors has quietly begun shipping Model S’s with some sensors and driver assist features.
The news comes not through any official channel, but by new Model S owners excitedly reporting via online forums that their cars now have a “new suite of driver assistance features including lane departure warning and speed assist”.
A setup screen posted online shows two driver assist features – A “lane departure warning” and a “speed assist”. Both appear meant to give warnings to the driver, rather than automatically drive the car so it stays in the lane or stays within the speed limit.
The feature is arriving even on cars where the Tech Package was not ordered.
Unfortunately the feature is reportedly not retrofittable into older Model S’s.
We should see this as a tiny first step on Tesla Motors’ roadmap for driver assist and automated driving features. Tesla Management (a.k.a. Elon Musk) has said the goal is to support partially automated driving by 2017. They appear intent to not provide fully automated driving.
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