Tesla’s enhanced autopilot to arrive before New Year

Tesla’s Enhanced Autopilot update should start to arrive on new Model S and X cars before the New Year, according to tweets from CEO Elon Musk.

The update provides customers that picked the Enhanced Autopilot add-on, which costs $5,000, with most of the original Autopilot features. That includes an automatic steering, lane change, parking, emergency braking, collision avoidance, and remote summon.

It doesn’t sound like a valuable add-on, but Tesla plans to add new functionality to the Enhanced Autopilot every month in 2017, while the original Autopilot is abandoned.

Musk claims that the Autopilot neural net appears to be working well, but said company would need “a lot time to validate in a wide range of environments.” That testing should hopefully prevent another fatal accident, like the one in August.

Tesla has a murky roadmap to full autonomy, which should come between 2018 and 2020. The next year, the electric vehicle supplier will begin adding more self-driving features to the Model S and X cars, bringing it to Level 3 or 4 autonomy.

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At the same time, the company will start manufacturing the Model 3, an affordable electric vehicle for “the masses”. The Model 3 is expected to have an Enhanced Autopilot feature, again for $5,000, though it might be priced lower.

In his “Master Plan, Part Deux,” Musk hinted at Tesla possibly launching a fleet of driverless taxis in major cities in the next few years. Ford has also hinted at doing this, leading some to believe the auto industry is moving from direct sale to lease or taxi services.

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