Tesla’s Auto-Charging Robot Arm To Become A Reality Soon, Autopilot Feature Continues To Evolve
By now, you’ve probably seen footage of Tesla’s robotic snake arm that the company demonstrated back in August 2015. If you’ve been having nightmares of it sneaking up in your bed and biting you while you’re sleeping, then you’re not alone. I’ve had a few sleepless nights myself. But, outside of its appearance that reminded me of one of Dr. Octopus’ arms, the whole purpose of that robotic snake is important in the evolution of Tesla’s new “summon” feature.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced in a recent conference call the new features of the version 7.1 software update, one of which is the aforementioned summon feature that makes it possible for a Tesla to park by itself. According to Musk, the wall- or ceiling-mounted droid, or at least some updated version of it, will also be available in the future. Musk didn’t give a specific timetable on when our future overlords will arrive, but he did say that it would be packaged in such a way that its creepiness would be dialed down to a certain extent. The Tesla CEO also added that its nation-wide Supercharger network would get first dibs on the feature.
In other news, development of Tesla’s Autopilot feature is progressing to the point that it’s now “better than human”, especially in certain driving situations like staying in one lane. Having said that, the feature is still in its embryonic stage and it could take up to 36 months for the feature to get all of its kinks in order. Once it’s fully operational, the Autopilot feature would allow Tesla vehicles to drive from coast to coast.
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Why it matters
From a purely visual standpoint, the robotic arm isn’t one of Elon Musk’s proudest moments. Even he admitted as much. But, from a usefulness point of view, it’s going to be a boon for a lot of Tesla owners as these droids can attend to the dirty bits of owning an electric car. It’s certainly puts little to no effort on us to actually do the charging of our cars, especially if the robotic snake arm is paired to the new summon feature that comes with Tesla’s latest software update.
I’m not prepared to call the arm and the new summon feature home runs because I still want to see them in action on the streets and not as a demonstration by Tesla. There’s something about real-world effectiveness that you can’t get from a simulated showcase, so seeing what these new features are capable of doing in their current configuration will go a long way in determining whether the whole technology has been worth the wait.
As for the latest in Tesla’s Autopilot feature, that’s another tech that I’m looking forward to seeing perform on its own. The whole “24 to 36 months” timetable is a little too long, but at least Tesla’s giving itself enough time and latitude to see the technology through so that when it’s ready to be used by its customers, it’s not going to have any problems. If it did experience any kind of technical difficulties, that could potentially lead to some accidents. Nobody wants to see that happen, especially Tesla and its owners.