Tesla has announced an update to the Model S that it says will "end range anxiety," and could lead to a self-driving system in the very near future.
The software update essentially means that users will never unknowingly stray too far from a charging station, with a number of new warning systems being implemented. Not only that, but the GPS system will now route cars to keep them near charging stations.
The software will continuously monitor the car's location in relation to charging stations and how long the car can continue to run, reducing "range anxiety."
This says a lot about the future of the auto industry. It is very likely that software will play an increasingly large role in cars and how they run, especially as the industry shifts to electric cars, which are cheaper to run because electricity costs less than gas and is less damaging to the environment.
The rise of the electric car is a change that has been a long time coming, and while the shift to electric vehicles is slow, an increasingly large number of companies are turning toward electric car technology. Rumors suggest that even Apple is considering making moves into electric cars.
Of course, one of the biggest problems with electric cars is that they need charging. Tesla has been building charging stations for its cars over the past few years, increasing how easy it is for drivers to find a station to charge their vehicles. However, software in cars will also play a big role in this. Not only will software improve how the car operates, enabling it to save power, but it can also help dictate where the car is and is not able to go without running out of power.
Tesla's new update also highlights the shift toward driverless cars, which the likes of Google have been working on for a while now. Tesla has said that within three months the Model S will get another update that will allow the car to drive itself on both open roads and on private property. The system is being tested between San Francisco and Seattle, and reportedly users are able to get between the two cities almost without touching the controls of the car at all.
The update will not allow users to completely give control over to the car, however, because of restrictions in the technology that could make it dangerous in certain urban settings. Despite this, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said during a conference call announcing the software updates that technically the car should be able to drive from parking lot to parking lot.
This is indicative of what we should expect from car companies in the future. As cars begin to have data connections, they will receive updates that should allow them to get more advanced as time goes in. This will be important with the electric car revolution.
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