Tesla's Next Roadster Will Feature Actual SpaceX Rocket Thrusters-Elon Musk

Ann Santiago
June 13, 2018

Troubled electric-car maker Tesla may be set to deliver new, fully autonomous vehicle features later this summer.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the company's controversial Autopilot driver-assistance system will get full self-driving features in a software update due out in August.

Buyers of Tesla's sedan or SUV, including the $140,000 Model X P100D, can pay an extra $5,000 for "Enhanced Autopilot", a package of still-experimental features that the company says could include "on-ramp to off-ramp" autonomous freeway driving.

In another fatal accident a year ago, Tesla's Autopilot failed to detect a truck crossing the road, but investigators pointed out the driver was watching a movie at the time and not paying attention with the semi-autonomous system in operation.

As a remake of one of Tesla's very first vehicles, the new Roadster has been kept under wraps for the past few months and from the outside at least, the Tesla Roadster continues the design language we've seen on the Model X, Model 3 and updated Model S, with a somewhat more aggressive edge.

Tesla has been gradually upgrading its Autopilot features with regular software updates. "With V9, we will begin to enable full self-driving features", Musk tweeted on Sunday, responding to comments from Tesla owners about the suggested features.

Tesla repeatedly tells drivers to keep their hands on the wheel while Autopilot is engaged-the auto warns anyone who doesn't, disabling the feature and even stopping the vehicle should the alerts be ignored. Musk has said LIDAR is not a prerequisite for Tesla.

Musk and Tesla first announced the specs of the new Roadster back in November, stating that "these numbers sound nutty, but they're real". 8 seconds prior to the crash, the Tesla was following a lead vehicle and was traveling about 65 miles per hour, before it began a left steering motion. He has also shared other plans Tesla Inc has for the coming years, at the company's annual shareholder meeting. And shares are just 10% from their all-time highs.

CEO Elon Musk has already said they would build a pickup truck as well.

As to the benefits, Musk noted that "these rocket engines dramatically improve acceleration, top speed, braking & cornering".

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