Tesla electric car owners all over the world who charged their cars overnight have been downloading the new Version 7.0 software for autopilot ever since the feature's debut last week, reported Fox 5 News.
Tesla Motors has remotely added software to the Model S that allows for semi-autonomous driving, according to Agence-France Presse. With the latest Tesla Version 7.0 software, owners of the fully-electric Model S now have self-driving capabilities.
The new autopilot system drives the car in its lane on highways and local streets and maintains a safe distance from the car in front of it, AP News reported. The semi-autonomous system can also find the car a parking spot and parallel park it.
Owners of the $70,000 luxury electric vehicle exert minimal effort while driving. The autopilot system does not react to traffic lights or stop signs, so drivers must keep their hands on the wheel and be prepared to stop.
With the autopilot software engaged, the Model S can change lanes, accelerate, decelerate, brake and avoid obstacles. The technology utilizes 12 ultrasonic sensors, a GPS system, a radar and a forward-facing camera that reads road signs, as Auto World News previously reported. The sensors detect up to 16 feet around the vehicle at any speed in all directions.
Watch a video of the self-driving Tesla S in action below.
While Tesla is the first automaker to give current car owners the option to use semi-autonomous driving, while other companies are working on their own self-driving vehicles. Google is testing its all electric self-driving vehicles in the U.S. and in Canadian cities. Volvo is also working on the technology and will claim responsibility for future accidents caused by its future self-driving vehicles.
"We're being especially cautious at this early stage so we are advising drivers to keep their hands on the wheel just in case," Tesla CEO Elon Musk said at a press conference, AFP reported. "In the long term, people will not need hands on the wheel, and eventually there won't be wheels or pedals."