Posted by : Sukanta Sarkar Friday, October 10, 2014

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At an event crowded with Tesla fans in Los Angeles, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk announced advanced driver assistance systems in the Model S, along with an all-wheel-drive option.

Tesla Model S all-wheel-drive chassisElon Musk showed off the all-wheel-drive Model S chassis on a robot arm during an event in Los Angeles. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

LOS ANGELES--Tesla's electric Model S has proven a very technically advanced car, except in regards to driver assistance systems. All that changes now, as Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk announced at an event in Los Angeles that every car manufactured over the last two weeks comes with new sensor hardware to enable what he calls Autopilot capabilities.

The event on Thursday night also included an announcement about the D option, an all-wheel-drive Model S adding a smaller motor to drive the front wheels.

The Autopilot hardware includes forward-looking radar and camera, combined with all-around long-range ultra-sonic sensors. A software update being sent out to cars as an over-the-air update will enable driver assistance features such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and automated parking.

In addition, Musk said owners will be able to summon their cars, or set a calendar so the cars will meet them at a prearranged spot. However, this capability will only be enabled on private property to avoid liability issues.

With the D all-wheel drive option, Musk said the car can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, putting it in supercar territory. Software for the all-wheel-drive system will intelligently shift torque between front and rear wheels to maximize grip and efficiency.

Musk noted that further over-the-air software updates would improve the all-wheel-drive capabilities.

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

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