Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Elon Musk Is Building a Car With Rocket Boosters

Elon Musk Is Building a Car With Rocket Boosters

Autopilot's name may sound like it can drive a Tesla electric vehicle for you, but it's still a semi-autonomous feature that can auto-steer, keep you in your lane, brake, and accelerate the vehicle forward as long as the driver is still paying full attention with hands on the wheel.

The lack of evasive efforts suggests inattentive behavior on the part of the driver, or that perhaps he was incapacitated, said Bryan Reimer, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who studies driver safety and vehicle automation.

Tesla intends to make quite a range of vehicles. Version 9 is the first full update of the software since version 8 was released in 2016.

He said the current version of Autopilot was most focused on safety, while the August update would introduce more autonomy. Although stories about Tesla "drivers" sleeping and sitting in the passenger seat - and, unfortunately, crashing while reliant on the system - abound, Autopilot is only meant to operate under constant driver supervision. "The air exiting the thrusters would immediately be replenished whenever vehicle pack power draw allowed operation of the air pump, which is most of the time", Musk tweeted in response to Lance Ulanoff's tweet. During that time, the system provided two visual and one auditory alert for the driver to put his hands back on the steering wheel, the agency said.

"All aspects of the crash remain under investigation as the NTSB determines the probable cause, with the intent of issuing safety recommendations to prevent similar crashes".

Rocket-powered Tesla Roadster may fly, Elon Musk says
The Tesla Roadster's SpaceX package will replace the back seats with rockets (TSLA)

Among other factors, investigators are trying to determine how the car's camera, radar and ultrasonic sensors were working and what they were tracking.

According to Telsa CEO Elon Musk, to improve the performance, the package option of forthcoming Telsa Roadster will include ten small rocket thrusters, which are arranged around the vehicle. Tesla would not comment beyond the CEO's tweets. Dubbed the "Space X Option", it is named for the rocket company Musk also controls.

The automaker's CEO tweeted over the weekend that the all-electric $200,000 Roadster will be offered with a SpaceX option package that includes approximately "10 small rocket thrusters" installed around the vehicle that will improve its performance and "maybe will even allow a Tesla to fly".

On Saturday, Musk said the package will include around 10 small rocket thrusters that will improve the vehicle's acceleration, maximum speed, braking, and handling. "Maybe they will even allow a Tesla to fly ..."

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