Tesla cars, the luxury electric vehicles, can now park themselves in your garage and could also, in a couple of years, drive across the country to pick you up.
In a software update released Sunday, Tesla has given its Model S and Model X vehicles the ability to open your garage door, enter, park and shut down. The only human intervention would be one click of a button. In the morning when you wake up and the walk out the front door, you could just "summon" your car with another button click.
The feature called Summon is laying the groundwork for much bigger plans however. Tesla boss Elon Musk said that within two years, people would be able to call their vehicle to drive itself from your home to meet you anywhere in the country – and charge itself along the way.
In a conference call ahead of the Detroit Motor Show, Musk gave the example of a customer in Los Angeles being able to summon their car to New York, all from their phone. It will synch with your calendar to know exactly when to arrive, Tesla said in a separate press release.
He followed up with a tweet reiterating his vision.
Tesla has asked customers to test the new feature on private property and owners of the Model S and Model X have posted videos online showing how it works.
Of course, Musk's vision will require regulatory backing to become reality. States across the U.S. will need to have uniform rules on driverless cars, something that currently appears a long way off. In addition, autonomous vehicles will need to be smart enough to deal with the number of obstacles that currently could hamper them. Renault-Nissan's chief executive Carlos Ghosn recently told CNBC that its self-driving cars are "confused" by cyclists.
Musk said that there was no evidence that any of the self-driving features of Tesla vehicles have resulted in accidents. The company is also gathering data from all the Model S cars on the road to improve their autonomous capabilities too.
Tesla is seen as one of the front runners in the race towards fully autonomous cars, but over the past year, a number of traditional vehicle manufactures and technology firms have been announcing their plans for the space. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, a number of companies from Volkswagen to BlackBerry announced their intentions for driverless cars.
The latest software release from Tesla follows an update in October called Autopilot which used information from the sensors of a Model S to allow the car to steer within a lane, change lanes at the tap of a turn signal and manage speed automatically.
Shares in Tesla are down 12 percent since the start of the year, amid the wider sell-off in markets. At the beginning of the month, the company reported that total vehicle deliveries for the fourth quarter of 2015 hit 17,400, at the lower end of its 17,000 to 19,000 guidance range.