And this video proves it.
Elon Musk's big Tesla announcement was delayed for two days because the automaker was throwing together a video showing what its new self-driving hardware and software could do. In the announcement, Musk promised a self-driving car with level 5 autonomy. This is the highest rating a self-driving car can have, and it's defined as the car controlling every aspect except starting itself and inserting the target destination. Musk promised that the demo video would show a Tesla navigating a complex urban environment. Well, that was a bit of a lie.
The video takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area's suburbs and on its freeways, not in an urban jungle. With that being said the footage is simply incredible.
The driver behind the wheel, who is only there for legal reasons, doesn't have to lift a finger or foot. The Model X he's in stops at all stop signs, is able to change lanes on the freeway and exit it without any driver assistance. When we drove the Model S a few months ago the Autopilot system couldn't recognize stop signs and freaked out at the very same freeway exit featured in this video. We would have loved for our test car to go off and find its own spot instead of us having to scout out our own in Tesla's crowded lot. The new hardware that made this video possible is being installed on every Tesla that leaves the factory, but the software still needs a year or so of testing. Still, for a beta test these cars look pretty damn polished. Count us as impressed.