Tesla takes Autopilot software international, teases update

The automaker's self-driving technology isn't the only thing headed overseas. It's also reportedly looking to produce some cars in China.

Andrew Krok Reviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Andrew Krok
2 min read

Tesla's Autopilot system is going international after clearing regulatory hurdles in several countries.

Autopilot has passed legal muster in each of the 19 countries where the brand's cars are sold, except for Japan, tweeted CEO Elon Musk on Friday. Autopilot debuted in the US two weeks ago as part of Version 7.0 of the software that powers Tesla's Model S sedan and upcoming Model X crossover.

Tesla's Autopilot is one of the most advanced driver-assist systems available today. The software works with sensors on the car and is capable of both driving and steering for extended periods of time. Musk on Friday also tweeted that an update to Autopilot would be "coming soon." The improvements mentioned in Musk's tweet are updates to existing features rather than new ones.

Autopilot is still in "beta" mode, but drivers are already putting it to the test. A three-person team completed a 2,995-mile sprint from California to New York in an Autopilot-enabled Tesla Model S in an impressive 57 hours and 48 minutes, spending most of that time hands-off. Several drivers have also posted videos online showing the system's shortcomings, including one of a car making an unexpected dive to the side of the road. Tesla has said repeatedly that drivers should remain in control of their vehicle at all times.

Not only is Tesla's technology moving overseas, some of its manufacturing may be as well. Tesla is in talk with China to shift towards local manufacturing, Reuters reported Friday. The automaker has seen weak sales in China, partly due to the high cost of importing vehicles from its factory in California. Tesla could cut the price of its cars in China by one third if they were manufactured within the country's borders, Reuters said.

Tesla will host a conference call to discuss its third-quarter earnings on November 2.