Tesla is to produce a fully self-driving car in competition with Google, according to the electric car manufacturer’s CEO.

Elon Musk tweeted that the company was “ramping up the Autopilot software team at Tesla to achieve generalized full autonomy”.

Tesla’s Autopilot software already provides vehicles with partial autonomy.

But it is now aiming to produce fully driverless vehicles with the software, competing with Google and major car brands who have begun to experiment with autonomous technologies.

Musk said the technology was now Tesla’s “super high priority”.

With the existing Autopilot system, cars are able to stay within their own lane, maintain distance from other vehicles, park themselves, and change lanes automatically, as well as collect data from the driver's habits.

"Tesla's Autopilot is a way to relieve drivers of the most boring and potentially dangerous aspects of road travel – but the driver is still responsible for, and ultimately in control of, the car," Tesla explained in a statement.

Although current laws governing road safety mean Autopilot can't be used on public roads, owners can use it on private land.

Tesla's Model SD – an update on its Model S range – is the first car to have Autopilot built in. The system includes sensors that can detect potential collision risks, as well as a front-mounted camera that can detect road features and pedestrians.

Although Musk has stated he believes fully autonomous cars are at least three years away, the CEO has also suggested that cars driven by humans would be banned when self-driving vehicles are proven to be safer.

Author: Phil Riley

Photo: Newspress

Sophie Williamson Stothert


December 2, 2015