Tesla's Musk to ring in 2017 with self-driving cars

The ​CEO tweets that the updated version of its Autopilot feature will be enabled in new Teslas starting at the end of next week.

Michelle Meyers
Michelle Meyers wrote and edited CNET News stories from 2005 to 2020 and is now a contributor to CNET.
Michelle Meyers
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk, shown here at a launch event for the Model X.

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Elon Musk has a holiday gift for those waiting patiently for self-driving features in new Teslas.

"Looks like we might be ready to rollout most of Autopilot functionality for HW2 towards the end of next week," Tesla's CEO tweeted Thursday night.

He's referring to new models built starting in October that contain the hardware capable of full-on autonomous driving as part of their Enhanced Autopilot driver assist feature. None of the systems were to be enabled, however, until a yet to be announced December date, which now looks to be during the week between Christmas and New Years'.

The rollout is expected to be incremental, first enabling safety systems like adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking. This brings Tesla's new Model X and Model S vehicles in line with the older Teslas currently on the road.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for more information about the rollout and Musk's tweet.

If you want to see what it's all about, here's a video from Tesla showcasing Autopilot's ability to drive itself around town, responding to stop signs and traffic, making turns and cruising around town.