How would you feel like if you cruised down the freeway in a car that won't let you control the steering wheel?
Even if most tech reviewers find Tesla Motor's Model S autopilot feature undoubtedly very cool and promising, the self-driving and self-steering (and self-parking) car is still giving drivers the heebie-jeebies.
Version 7.0 of the car's firmware has added auto steer functionality for the freeway so that the car can actually navigate curves and lanes and make it seem like it knows what its doing with the driver's intervention.
IGN's Ryan McCaffrey took out the IGN CEO's TESLA Model S and drove it on Highway 101 north, heading back towards IGN in San Francisco. After merging into the thick of the action, he was surprised at what he found.
McCaffrey pulled the stalk twice on the steering wheel to initiate auto pilot. The wheel stiffened up, making it difficult for the driver to wrench control away from the car. The car picked up on the nav the lane markings - if these are blue the car can reflect it on the app's screen.
When McCaffrey came up to a curve, the car steered itself safely. When he tried a lane change, he put his turn signal on and the car changed lanes by itself.
The whole experience has totally freaked out and amazed McCaffrey by turns. "I have a difficult time wrapping mt head around it. This isn't supposed to exist. This isn't supposed to happen yet."
McCaffrey goes on to say that normally he would have a hard time driving and talking to the camera at the same time, but he raises his hands to show that he is cruising down the highway hands-free. "Instead I'm just keeping my eyes open making sure that everything is good. And I am talking to you."
Apparently, the shockers weren't over yet.
McCaffrey proceeded to try out whether the car could park by itself. It promptly went through the motions of parallel parking, backing in and out, which "worked out like a charm."
The IGN reporter stressed that though it was impressive, the feature was in no way perfect. Electrek reports that during the press conference for the release of the Autopilot, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that a common problem with the early version was that it tended to take exits on the highway when it wasn't supposed to.
To fix such bugs, he said that the Model S owner can "train" the autonomous features of the system to feed the collective network intelligence of the fleet by driving the electric vehicle on autopilot.
The Tesla Model S, has the beta of the autosteering function out, and is part of the autopilot package available on any new Tesla Model S or Model X.