Tesla “snake charger” wasn’t just a creepy one-off, suggests Elon Musk

Elon Musk’s Tesla snake charger seems slated for release in the near future, as the automatic charging solution would be used to support the company’s coast-to-coast driving/Summon capabilities. With the snake charger, Tesla vehicles will be able to charge without human assistance when traveling across state lines.

Musk mentioned Tesla’s snake charger after he announced the release of the company’s next Full Self-Driving update. In a tweet, the Tesla CEO suggested that the all-electric car maker plans to launch its latest FSD build in a couple of weeks to a limited number of beta testers. The next FSD update will be capable of “zero-intervention” driving as per Musk, bringing Tesla closer to its autonomy goals. Musk’s announcement was in response to an analysis from ARK Invest’s Tasha Keeney about Waymo commercially launching its full driverless service.

News about Tesla’s new FSD update led one Twitter user to ask about coast-to-coast driving and summon capability. Elon Musk replied that driving and summoning across state borders could be possible with the new FSD update, “provided we do our metal gear snake autocoupler.” In a later reply on Twitter, Musk confirmed that Tesla owners will see the company’s automatic snake charger in the future.

Elon Musk talked about Tesla’s automatic snake charger during an interview with Stephen Colbert from The Late Show in 2015. During the interview, Colbert joked that the Tesla snake charger looked “like the thing that jacks into the back of Neo’s head in the Matrix.”

Very little has been said about the Tesla snake charger since Elon Musk’s interview with Stephen Colbert. As such, it has led some to wonder whether Tesla owners would ever see the snake charger at all. Based on his latest tweets, it turns out Musk still has intensions about rolling out Tesla’s automatic snake charger.

Musk’s announcement about Tesla’s upcoming FSD update suggests that it is time for the automatic snake charger to be released into the wild–so to speak. It will become more relevant as Tesla gets closer to achieving true autonomy features, allowing the company’s vehicles to perform coast-to-coast driving and summoning.

The necessity for technology like Tesla’s snake charger is one aspect of autonomous driving that most companies’ developing self-driving software haven’t considered. Most companies in the field are hyper-focused on just developing and launching self-driving software, but very few seem to be considering the other aspects involved with the rollout of such a technology.

For instance, it seems like self-driving software developers assume that human operators will still be present to charge or refuel vehicles. The snake charger reveals that Tesla has thought a little deeper about how autonomy would change driver engagement and the infrastructure that supports the ownership of vehicles.

Maria Merano: Veteran writer and editor, who believes harmony between tech and nature is achievable. We just need to learn to compromise.
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