Published: Sat, October 22, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Here's how Tesla's new self-driving system will work

The only problem, however, is that software for top-shelf autonomous driving is still a matter of work-in-progress for Tesla Motors.

New software now being tested will mean that equipment should become fully operational by the end of 2017.

All new cars produced by Tesla will have hardware built-in to make them completely autonomous, the company's CEO Elon Musk has announced. However, it will still be years before the cars become fully self-driving despite the sensors, radars and cameras being introduced, explains the BBC.

If Tesla achieves Musk's deadline it will put the carmaker well ahead of its rivals in the race to make autonomous cars a mass market proposition.

Cars previously built don't have the new hardware and - this is the moment in the article where early adopters groan - Musk said in a tweet that retrofitting vehicles won't be possible.

Those who purchase a new Tesla with the new hardware will need to activate the software to actually access the fully autonomous driving features.

Google, ride-hailing service Uber and an assortment of other automakers also are working on a range of self-driving cars in an effort to ultimately turn the steering wheel over to robots. Self-driving technology "still needs to prove itself", he said, adding that it has trouble operating in dense urban traffic and inclement weather. But ultimately, Musk said, it could be as much as 10 times safer than the average human driver.

Initially, Tesla wants its self-driving technology to be twice as safe as a human driver.

It says the operational function of cars fitted with the new equipment will be scaled down until a full test regime is completed.

The electric vehicle manufacturer introduced its autopilot system a year ago and is expected to roll out a beefed up version amongst its entire range by 2018. Tesla Autopilot is not meant to drive the auto on its own, but only to assist a driver behind the wheel who is expected to be fully attentive at all times. "That just gets better over time as the system is further refined".

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