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Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Autopilot Cements Wall Street Hopes

Tesla Motors Inc model s

Tesla Motors  is taking bold steps to make cars with new features that would look like something out of a sci-fi movie if you had mentioned them some ten years ago. Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently talked up two autopilot features that are coming up on its Model S. Musk announced via Twitter on Friday that the firm is “almost ready to release highway autosteer and parallel autopark software update”.

Tesla model s

What Does Autopilot Do?

The autopilot mode is currently available on Tesla’s Model S and it is a step in the right direction towards Tesla’s dream of having self-driving cars on the road. The autopilot mode is an optional feature in the Model S that uses radar to sense and avoid other road users, road signs and obstacles. It appears that it can even change lanes on the highway.

The two new features that Elon Musk introduced are the highway autosteer and the parallel autopark. If you enable autosteer, you’ll be able to travel a long distance on the highway without having to touch the steering wheels. That’s the closest feature to a full self-driving car on the market right now. The autopark feature will assist with parallel parking so that you can park the car without frizzling your nerves when you are running late.

Will Model X Debut Autopilot?

Elon Musk in replies to his tweet has provided more insight to the autopilot features. It will be available on Model S, in all regions, and it will learn from other cars over time. However, the big question is whether the upcoming Model X will debut an autopilot mode.

About three weeks ago, a prototype of the Model X was spotted with a number of sensors. The best guess for the mysterious sensors is that they are probably front-facing cameras, front-facing radar, and 360-degree sonar and/or radar. However, Tesla  has not said anything about the sensors, and the firm has not given any official word on whether the Model X will spot an autopilot mode. However, it is safe to assume that autopilot will be one of the key features of the Model X when it debuts.

Analysts are Optimistic

Ben Kallo of Robert W. Baird is one of the analysts with a positive outlook on Tesla. He maintained an Outperform rating with a $335 price target after other analysts had downgraded the stock. In his words, “The launch of the Model X will increase TSLA’s brand value and help solidify TSLA as a long-term investment.”

Andrea James of Dougherty also has positive views on the prospects of Tesla Motors . He maintained a “Buy” rating with a price target of $355 on the stock. He believes that the recent $0.75B credit facility that Tesla secured will allow “Tesla more leeway to streamline unit deliveries by geography.”

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Victor Alagbe is a seasoned business and finance writer with a specialty in writing about how to invest for the long-term in healthcare, pharmacology, energy and tech stocks. His long-term focus is on stocks that provide a nice mix of growth and income. For the short term, he passionately writes about trading stock options for the excitement and leverage that stock options offer.

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