Tesla Motors plan for an "auto-pilot" to handle most driving tasks
As of this writing (late 2013) many automakers have developed some "driver assist" features such as an automated parking assistant that takes care of parallel parking. This is being developed as a preview of future fully autonomous driving. However, Tesla Motors, despite offering luxury cars, does not have any such feature.
What Autonomous-Driving Technology Could Mean for Tesla (Sept 20, 2013): Some spot-on theorizing about the likely results for an "auto-pilot Tesla".
Elon Musk Says Tesla Will Offer Self-Driving Cars Within 3 Years (Sept 18, 2013): Elon Musk took to Twitter to call for autonomous driving experts to contact Tesla.
Tesla Motors is currently aiming to have a self-driving, autonomous car built within the next three years, according to the famous Tesla CEO Elon Musk. If that goal is met, that means that Tesla will beat its rivals � Mercedes-Benz and Nissan �…
Tesla moves ahead from Google in race to build self-driving cars (Sept. 17, 2013): The Financial Times publishes snippets out of an interview with Tesla CEO Elon Musk that confirm Tesla is planning to develop autonomous driving. Specifically, it is an "auto pilot" system that will handle 90% or so of driving, rather than be a full autonomous system. "My opinion is it's a bridge too far to go to fully autonomous cars," Mr Musk said in an interview with the Financial Times. "It's incredibly hard to get the last few per cent." When? "We should be able to do 90 per cent of miles driven within three years," he said.
So.. "auto-pilot" by 2016-17. At that time frame Tesla expects to be selling the Model S and Model X, with the Gen3 affordable mass production electric car about to launch.
Tesla Job Listing Reveals Push for Fully Autonomous EV (Sept 16, 2013): A Wired.com writer noticed the same job listing.
The Long Tail Pipe: Tesla Motors looking to hire more autonomous driving expertise (Sept. 13, 2013): Some time after having seen the job opening for a RADAR/LIDAR specialist, I took a look again and noticed a new job opening - Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Controls Engineer -- The job opening in this case flat out says "you will be responsible for developing vehicle-level decision-making and lateral and longitudinal control strategies for Tesla's effort to pioneer fully automated driving". With the August 6 job posting it was an educated guess that Tesla was looking to develop autonomous driving. With this job opening it was clear. That led me to write this news article: Tesla Motors hiring autonomous driving experts hinting future RoboTesla
The Long Tail Pipe: Tesla Motors looking to hire autonomous vehicle radar system engineers ... hmmm... (August 6, 2013): I noticed a job opening on Tesla's careers area looking for a RADAR/LIDAR specialist ..
Tesla Motors is seeking a Radar Hardware Engineer who has 3-10 years of design and release responsibility on sensors (Radar, Cameras, Lidar, and Ultrasound)/active safety systems. This engineer will be responsible for translating Tesla's autopilot roadmap into active safety features and into requirements. The engineer will actively drive the features into production and evaluate future technologies.
The rest of the job posting made it clear - they're looking for someone to develop the sensor system that would form the basis of autonomous driving.
Elon Musk in talks with Google to bring driverless tech to Tesla cars - A writer on The Verge noted a few tweets by Elon Musk shortly after the Bloomberg report was published, that tried to downplay what was said in the Bloomberg report.
Tesla CEO Talking With Google About 'Autopilot' Systems (May 7, 2013): "Elon Musk, the California billionaire who leads Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA), said the electric-car maker is considering adding driverless technology to its vehicles and discussing the prospects for such systems with Google Inc. (GOOG)" He's quoted saying he prefers "auto-pilot" over "self-driving" and notes that Anthony Levandowski, product manager for Google's self-driving car project, has said the company expects to release the technology within five years. But Elon Musk is saying he's not exactly pleased with the Google system -- "The problem with Google's current approach is that the sensor system is too expensive," Musk said. "It's better to have an optical system, basically cameras with software that is able to figure out what's going on just by looking at things."