Tesla Will Offer Hands-Free Steering, Banish Range ‘Anxiety’

Mar 20, 2015 10:31 AM EDT | Matt Mercuro

Tesla will offer hands-free steering for its Model S sedan in June, company CEO Elon Musk announced on Thursday.

The automatic steering feature will be available in about three months, or a year before all other automakers, for driving on major roadways and highways, according to Reuters. The feature is part of a series of free software upgrades sent wirelessly to Tesla owners.

"We can basically go between San Francisco and Seattle without the driver doing anything," Musk said, during a conference call with reporters, according to NBC News.

The technology means that drivers won't have to control the steering wheel, braking or acceleration while their Model S is on the highway. The announcement was made during a press conference where Musk outlined an update for a "range assurance" app and a trip planner.

The new software is designed to warn drivers before they run out of charging range and plans routes with charging stations to make it "basically impossible" for the battery to die before reaching a Tesla station, Musk said during the conference.

The range assurance and trip planning features will be released by the end of the month. The current Model S has a range between charges of about 280 miles.

Musk said during the press conference that almost all of North America will be in "Tesla charging range" within the next year.

As we reported earlier this week, Musk hinted at the software update on Sunday, saying Tesla had an announcement that would "end" all range anxiety.

The Version 7.0 software will also be installed in the brand new Model X crossover, which is schedule to reach production starting this summer.

General Motors is planning on offering hands-free driving features for its new Cadillac CT6 sedan and other automakers are working on similar systems.

Shares in the EV maker closed down $5.06, or 2.52 percent, at $195.65, according to USA Today.

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