Tesla is making headlines for a software update to the Model S aimed at ending "range anxiety," a situation in which drivers are concerned about whether or not they will make it to a charging station.
The company isn't done with software updates just yet, however. According to statements by CEO Elon Musk, the next update, due in around three months, will allow it to drive itself.
Musk has been known to make big statements and while more often than not he has followed through, it seems like a pretty big call to make to suggest a car will be able to drive itself. Of course, we do not yet know how the system will work, and only that it will work on highways, suggesting sensors can decipher white lines on the road and cars around it.
Some, however, suggest we're not ready for self-driving cars yet. While Tesla's next update seems to be more of an advanced cruise control rather than an actual self-driving car, it's unclear if current regulations will allow for the technology.
"There's a reason other automakers haven't gone there," said Karl Brauer, Kelley Blue Book analyst. "Best case scenario, it's unclear. If you're an individual that starts doing it, you'd better hope nothing goes wrong."
While a number of states have passed laws to allow autonomous cars, most cover the testing of vehicles rather than the use by consumers.
Tesla's update, however, will not replace the need for a driver. A driver will not be able to take a nap while their car drives for them, and will need to remain alert and ready to take the wheel.
Tesla is not the only company to develop autonomous controls. Companies like Mercedes-Benz and Honda have given cars the ability to drive themselves, however these companies have also take steps to ensure that drivers remain alert on the road. For example, drivers will need to keep their hands on the wheel. If the wheel remains untouched for a few seconds, a warning will sound.
It's also unclear if drivers are ready for self-driving cars. There is likely to be a level of anxiety associated with relinquishing control of a vehicle to the vehicle, a barrier that will need to be broken down over the next few years if autonomous cars are to become as popular as some expect.