Tesla has today revealed not only a new all-wheel-drive version of its Model S sedan, but also a number of key new safety features.
In production already for the 2015 model year, the enhanced Model S sedan’s new tech will even include (nearly) autonomous lane-changing.
The new system forms part of an upgrade that allows drivers to go hands-free while cruising - although a human tap on the indicator will still be needed to initiate that automated lane-change function.
The ability to maintain lane position and automatically brake or accelerate is no longer a brand-new technology, but Tesla founder Elon Musk believes his company’s take on the concept is significantly more advanced than its rivals.
The autonomous lane changing, for one, is a feature offered with no other production car right now.
"Once we upload the software over the next two or three months, the Model S will have the most sophisticated driver assistance or autonomous functions of any [production] car on the road,” Tesla founder Elon Musk said at today’s unveiling.
Along with the upgraded software, the Model S sedan’s new safety tech is enabled by an array of sensors based on both camera and radar systems.
The upgrade also means the Model S is now equipped with lane-keeping control, active emergency braking and automated parking.
Dubbed 'Autopilot', Musk said the new technology is an important step toward true autonomous driving.
"A Tesla car next year will probably be 90 percent capable of auto pilot. So 90 percent of your miles could be on auto. For sure, highway travel,” Musk told CNN Money recently.
As for fully autonomous driving, Musk believes Tesla will have something in showrooms in the next five to six years.