Musk also said that one of the challenges of going driverless had been making the car’s software recognize roadway markings that are faded, and the need to recognize the difference between proper markings and skid marks or other blemishes on the roadway. Tesla for months has been testing its driverless software prototypes on highways between San Francisco and the Pacific Northwest.
The Model S cars have built-in driver-assistance systems that include, among other things, forward radar, a camera mounted by the rear-view mirror, and 12 sensors that can sense objects within 16 feet of the car. Tesla is able to release over-the-air software updates so owners don’t have to bring their cars in for service.
The road to autopilot driving has been incremental. Last year, Tesla launched features such as lane-departure warnings, and earlier this year it released adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, and a forward-collision warning system.
Almost ready to release highway autosteer and parallel autopark software update— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 31, 2015
Final corner case is dealing with low contrast lane markings (faded white on grey concrete) while driving into the sun at dusk— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 31, 2015
The car will learn over time, but there is a min caliber of starting quality.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 31, 2015