The tweet didn’t dive into details so, naturally, everybody’s on edge on what the product launch could be

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has never been the predictable type and so, true to form, Musk took to Twitter to announce an “unexpected” product launch event one week from today, on October 17, 2016. The tweet didn’t include much in the way of information about the launch, but he did also announce a Tesla/Solar City event on October 28.

Naturally, the product launch on the 17th has everyone speculating on what Musk and Tesla have scheduled to go down on that date. So far, the company hasn’t added details past Musk’s tweet, leading to speculation on a number of possible scenarios, including the launch of a new Autopilot 2.0 hardware, another software update to the existing Autopilot system, or new details and information surrounding the Tesla Model 3. There’s also the possibility the launch is tied into a product that Tesla has kept close to its vest in the past few months.

Whatever the case may be, Musk’s tweet calling the launch “unexpected” has perked up the ears of everybody in the business and there’s sure to be more bouts of speculation on what Tesla is planning as the days count down to next Monday.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

What could it be?

Ok, so let’s run the down the list of possibilities beginning with the likeliest to the unlikeliest of things that Tesla’s product launch will cover.

The likeliest scenario revolves around Autopilot, specifically a new hardware system called Autopilot 2.0 that will include an array of new features and equipment, including a number of radars around the vehicle and a triple camera system that will be attached on the front end of the vehicle. It’s believed that the addition of this new equipment would allow Tesla to achieve Level 3 autonomy, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines as drivers being able to shift “safety-critical functions” to the vehicle under certain traffic or environmental conditions. In some ways, it’s a significant jump from Level 2 autonomy where the current iteration of Autopilot is in. That said, drivers are still necessary in Level 3 autonomy, but is not required to monitor the system’s performance compared to the lower levels. If the product launch is for Autopilot 2.0 with Level 3 autonomy, complete with retrofit upgrades for existing models, that’s going to completely shift the way Autopilot is going to be perceived from now on.

The other possibility linked to Autopilot is another software update. This scenario is less likely given that Tesla just rolled out it’s 8.0 software update three weeks ago. Then again, Tesla doesn’t operate on a similar time table as the rest of the EV market so there’s no telling how soon these software updates happen after the last one.

Outside of updates to Autopilot, another possibility is tied into the Tesla Model 3, entry-level compact sedan EV. New information about the sedan could be announced, which could include specs, options, and quite possibly, a final design of the car. The Model 3 isn’t expected to hit the market until this time next year, but given that timetable, now would be an opportune time to break ground on new information about the car, or at least confirm some rumors about it, including the supposed 300-mile range and the 0-to-60-mph time of under four seconds for the range-topping version.

Read our full review on the 2018 Tesla Model 3 here.

Source: Twitter - Elon Musk

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