Auto Tech

Elon Musk says Navigate on Autopilot will expand to handle traffic lights

Musk wants Tesla's cars to handle a person's entire commute, soup to nuts.

Tesla

Tesla's Navigate on Autopilot system hasn't even been online all that long, but CEO Elon Musk already has some very lofty plans for where his company wants to take the system next.

Musk took to Twitter (where else?) on Sunday to tease the next stage of Navigate on Autopilot's evolution. According to the tweet, Tesla is already working to add traffic lights, stop signs and roundabouts to the advanced driver aid. The goal, as Musk tweeted, is to automate as much of the commute as possible.

Like many of Musk's tweets, there are a lot of unanswered questions. We're not sure what the timeline is for this deployment -- heck, we're not even sure how far along this is. There's also the question of whether this kind of capability would need to be run past a regulatory authority (such as NHTSA) before being pushed to owners. It's also unclear if Tesla has tested these capabilities in the real world, or if most of its efforts have been on simulators.

Navigate on Autopilot seeks to take just a smidge more responsibility from the driver on the highway. It builds upon the standard Autopilot lane-holding system by adding suggestions for lane changes, in addition to navigation that extends to on-ramps and off-ramps. Roadshow took the system for a spin in late October, and we reported that the updated system completed its tasks "exceptionally."

Navigate on Autopilot isn't Tesla's sole focus for improving its suite of driver-assist systems. In late October, Musk tweeted that Tesla's self-parking feature should be to "drive around a parking lot, find an empty spot, read signs to confirm it's valid [and] park" by 2019.

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