Self-driving features for Tesla Motors '(NASDAQ: TSLA) electric vehicles may come through software updates in as little as three to six months, Musk tweeted on Monday. Of course, these features will almost certainly still fall short of full autonomy, but the news is interesting since it was generally thought that it would take longer for the company's new self-driving add-on to begin morphing into a compelling upgrade option.
Another potential feature to debut before regulatory approval for autonomous driving is park seek, or the ability for your vehicle to drop off a driver at the entrance of their destination and then seek for a parking spot. Similarly, Tesla could introduce improvements for its Smart Summon, which, for Tesla's Enhanced Autopilot, promises to "navigate more complex environments and parking spaces, maneuvering around objects as necessary to come find you" when summoned out of parking spaces and garages. Perhaps summoning enhancements for Tesla's full self-driving capability will enable even longer distances and even more complex environments.
The speed with which Tesla hopes to begin making its full self-driving capability noticeably better than Enhanced Autopilot is important. It means more customers may be paying up for the more expensive add-on sooner. And since Tesla already delivers every vehicle with the sensors required for its full self-driving package, more upgrades mean incremental margin for Tesla. This incremental margin can be used to help Tesla pour back more money into the development of Enhanced Autopilot and autonomous driving features.
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