It’s been a busy weekend for Elon Musk on Twitter: first he batted away suggestions that he wasn’t an Apple fan, then he announced a software rollout for Tesla vehicles that introduces the long-awaited Autopilot mode. It gives Tesla drivers the option to go hands-free on the freeway.
Some exciting news this week: Tesla Version 7 software with Autopilot goes to wide release on Thursday!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 11, 2015
Earlier in the week the entrepreneur had thrown a certain amount of shade Apple’s way by suggesting that the Cupertino company was a “graveyard” for engineers who “don’t make it” at Tesla. A number of high-profile members of staff have switched between the two firms in recent months.
Well, no offence intended. “I don’t hate Apple,” tweeted Musk. “It’s a great company with a lot of talented people. I love their products and I’m glad they’re doing an [electric vehicle].” Or at least that’s the rumor.
Musk also backtracked on criticisms he’d made about the Apple Watch. “Jony [Ive] and his team created a beautiful design, but the functionality isn’t compelling yet,” he wrote. “By version 3, it will be.”
Now that we’ve got all that cleared up, let’s move on to Autopilot, which Musk says will receive a wide release this Thursday (Oct. 15). As we’ve previously reported, early beta testers have already been giving it a spin: The new functionality adds highway auto-steer (essentially keeping you in the right lane at a fixed speed) and automatic parallel parking.
Tesla’s Traffic Aware Cruise Control gets a few improvements too: Used in combination with the auto-steer feature it can automatically adjust a car’s speed as well as its position. Fully autonomous vehicles are still some way off, but this is a big step forward for Tesla, and Musk says the rollout should take around five days to reach everyone.
With industry experts predicting that Apple is soon going to join the market — with a self-driving car, an electric car or both — Musk obviously wants to stay on friendly terms with his rival. Apple, meanwhile, isn’t saying anything yet.