All Tesla cars will have the capacity to drive themselves, company boss Elon Musk has revealed in a highly anticipated announcement which the entrepreneur had teased in tweets.
All models, including the Model 3 and and Model X, will now be fitted with hardware that will make it possible to drive without human control. However, that technology will not yet be switched on.
"Millions of miles of real-world driving" need to take place before it can be switched on, to ensure it is safe to use.
"Full autonomy will enable a Tesla to be substantially safer than a human driver, lower the financial cost of transportation for those who own a car and provide low-cost on-demand mobility for those who do not," the company said in a blog post.
Elon Musk shared a video demonstrating the technology in action.
Apple, however, parked its own top-secret but widely known plans for an autonomous vehicle, refocusing on the software aspect of the technology.
Detailing the spec of the technology, the firm said:
"Eight surround cameras provide 360 degree visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range. Twelve updated ultrasonic sensors complement this vision, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system. A forward-facing radar with enhanced processing provides additional data about the world on a redundant wavelength, capable of seeing through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.
To make sense of all of this data, a new onboard computer with more than 40 times the computing power of the previous generation runs the new Tesla-developed neural net for vision, sonar and radar processing software. Together, this system provides a view of the world that a driver alone cannot access, seeing in every direction simultaneously and on wavelengths that go far beyond the human senses."
The move to fully self-driving cars comes amid concerns around its semi-autonomous autopilot feature, which has been implicated in two fatal crashes in recent months. It is now temporarily switched off in vehicles currently on the road while the company investigates.