For all of you that want a Model III but don't actually want to drive it, I have good news! Elon Musk tells us that the Model III will be the first model to feature an auto-pilot mode. Auto-pilot mode will take over control in certain scenarios, like while sitting in traffic, or on the highway.
Speaking with Nikkei in Japan, Musk said that Tesla plans to incorporate some auto-pilot technology into the $35,000 Model 3 when it goes on sale in around three years. Tesla will develop the system and software in house, but will be using sub-components and sensors from other companies.
It seems probable that the Model X and the Model S will get retrofitted with the technology at some point as well.
Mr. Musk also believes that fully-autonomous cars could be a reality in 5 or six years.
Sounds like auto-pilot is kinda like super charged cruise control.
He has confirmed that the Model III will be "partially self-driving" and he also claims that fully autonomous vehicles will be at least 10x safer than human-piloted vehicles.
Musk says that his engineers are working on autonomous technology and it should be ready in 5-6 years. The largest hurdle is object recognition. Computers and sensors must identify and map potential obstacles that affect navigation.
Musk expects that autonmous technology will be ready to go by 2020, but legislative approval will delay the full roll out of the technology.