Tesla is preparing to roll out a more capable and robust version of its automated parking feature known as Enhanced Summon next week, CEO Elon Musk tweeted Saturday.
The tweet comes just days after the company released a new version of Navigate on Autopilot, an advanced driving feature that is viewed as a step towards full automated driving on highways.
In the tweet, Musk writes “Tesla Enhanced Summon coming out in U.S. next week for anyone with Enhanced Autopilot or Full Self-Driving option.”
Enhanced Summon is a parking assist feature designed to vehicles to navigate a parking lot autonomously and find its driver — under specific conditions. For instance, the driver, who uses the Tesla app to remotely call the car, must be within a certain distance of the vehicle.
Using the feature, the vehicle will pull out of a parking space, navigate around objects and come to the owner. Musk has been teasing this feature for some time now and owners in the early access program have used it. It’s started to be available more widely a few weeks ago to some owners. (There are already numerous video demonstrations of Enhance Summon in action) Now it appears it will have a wider release, based on Musk’s tweet.
Tesla’s vehicles are not self-driving. Autopilot is an advanced driver assistance system that can be described as a Level 2 system, a designation by the SAE that means partial automation. Level 2 can control two ADAS features simultaneously like adaptive cruise (accelerating and deceleration along with the vehicle ahead) and lane steering in certain conditions. However, the human driver is expected to maintain control at all times.
(Others have referred to it as semi-autonomous system, but that terminology has been recently shunned by industry insiders)
Navigate on Autopilot, which is supposed to guide a car from a highway on-ramp to off-ramp, including navigating interchanges and making lane changes, is Tesla’s most advanced driver assistance feature to date. The feature was initially held back when the automaker released the latest version of its in-car software, 9.0. When Navigate on Autopilot was eventually released in late October, Tesla placed some limitations on it, including that it mad a lane change suggestion that required the driver to confirm by tapping the turn signal before it would proceed.
In this newest iteration, drivers will now have the option to use Navigate on Autopilot without having to confirm lane changes via the turn stalk. The new version offers “a more seamless active guidance experience,” the company wrote in a blog post April 3.
For a bit of history, Tesla announced in October 2016 that it would started producing electric vehicles with a more robust suite of sensors, radar, and cameras—called Hardware 2—that would allow higher levels of automated driving. Owners of these Hardware 2 vehicles would be able to opt for one of two advanced driving packages, Enhanced Autopilot or Full Self-Driving, the latter of which is supposed to push the automated driving feature to new levels of capability and eventually drive autonomously without human intervention.
Owners with Enhanced Autopilot have vehicles capable of adaptive cruise control, Autosteer (essentially lane keeping), Summon and Navigate on Autopilot. But then in October 2018, the same month it started rolling out Navigate on Autopilot, Tesla removed that “full self-driving” option (FSD).
Then suddenly this year, Tesla changed the terminology and pricing again — and it brought back FSD.
Enhanced Autopilot is no longer available to new owners. Instead, owners can opt for Autopilot or FSD. Autopilot includes the Autosteer and adaptive cruise control features.
Owners who want the more advanced features like Navigate on Autopilot have to buy FSD. Navigate on Autopilot is considered a step towards that still on-met full self-driving promise.
Autopilot costs $3,000 and Full Self-Driving, costs an additional $5,000. So to get FSD owners have to plunk down $8,000.