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Reports: Tesla will take steps toward self-driving car

Chris Woodyard

Tesla Motors saw its shares rise Monday as rumors swirled about what it will announce this week: a step toward self-driving cars, all-wheel drive, or both.

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Tesla shares (TSLA) closed at $260.62, up 2.1% or $5.41. (Get the latest quote here.)

Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of American electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors, poses with a Tesla during a visit to Amsterdam on January 31, 2014.
Jerry Lampen | AFP | Getty Images

Even though it's a leader in battery-electric technology, Tesla is going to announce this week that it will add a suite of high-tech features, including one that helps drivers keep their car in the lane, Automotive News reports, citing "a person familiar with the carmaker's plans."

Barclays analyst Brian Johnson said in note to investors that he expects some sort of lane-keeping system and all-wheel drive. He wonders why the likely announcements appear to be moving the stock price when they are features commonly found on many other competing models.

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If true, the features announcement underscores how high-tech automakers like Tesla can't afford to innovate on a single level if they are falling behind on others.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said he favors a system like an autopilot on jetliners, which takes over functions of the plane during cruising mode, as opposed to spending time trying to develop a system that handles all driving functions all the time, closer to the one that Google is testing.

The question, however, will be whether Tesla has come far enough in adopting new technologies that could be precursors to a driverless car. Honda, for instance, just introduced a system that keeps the vehicle in its lane for the new CR-V, a mass-market crossover. Some luxury cars already have them.

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Tesla sells only high-priced luxury cars, vehicles where drivers expect them to come loaded up with high-tech goodies.

Tesla has sent invites for an Oct. 9 event. The invitation shows a garage door with a giant "D" on it and a Tesla Model S peeking through.