Tesla electric vehicles will park themselves in 2019, Elon Musk says

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Tesla cars will be able to find a parking spot on their own in 2019, CEO Elon Musk said Wednesday.

Musk described the technology as a “slightly smarter version” of the automaker’s Autopark feature, which currently enables a Tesla to parallel park or perpendicular park on its own once the car is next to a clearly marked open spot.

“By next year, a Tesla should be able to drive around a parking lot, find an empty spot, read signs to confirm it’s valid & park,” Musk said on Twitter.

It’s not clear whether the automaker will require someone to be in the driver’s seat. It’s currently illegal on most American roads for a car to operate without someone in it, but many parking lots are located on private property.

Tesla representatives were not immediately available to provide more details on the Autopark advancements.

Tesla’s Autopilot system already uses software and hardware to enable automatic steering, braking, accelerating and lane changing under certain conditions. The company has come under fire for calling it Autopilot, since drivers are supposed to keep their hands touching the wheel.

Critics say Musk sets overly ambitious timelines for new systems that inevitably end up delayed. And he has acknowledged promising things too quickly in the past.

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