Tesla initially planned on doing a coast-to-coast autonomous drive in the United States by the end of 2017 but that didn’t happen. The company has long touted the advanced semi-autonomous driving functionality of its all-electric cars and it will bring the functionality a lot of good press when it performs this cross-country drive. Tesla CEO Elon Musk now expects the company to conduct the coast-to-coast autonomous drive in up to six months.
The six-month timeframe is actually at the long end as Musk said during Tesla’s earnings call yesterday when asked about the drive that the company will “probably” be able to perform it in three months or “six months at the outside.”
Musk didn’t comment on the timing of availability but when asked if the ability to drive coast-to-coast using the autonomous feature will be available to customers immediately, Musk responded that it will be “a feature that’s available to customers.”
He also explained that the company could have done the coast-to-coast drive last year but it would have had to so with a lot of custom code which would have essentially seen Tesla “gaming” the demonstration. The feature that resulted from the test could only have been used for that exact cross-country route by other drivers.
Since Tesla wants to build a system that’s more generally useful, it made sense for the company to not push ahead with this last year and try to do it probably. Tesla fans will certainly hope that it gets it done in three months instead of six.