Elon Musk Promotes New 'Tap to Park' Tesla Feature, Shoots Down 360º View

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla appears closer to releasing an improved Auto Park feature
Tesla appears closer to releasing an improved Auto Park feature
Tesla

If you’ve been out Christmas shopping, Tesla’s long-awaited Park Seek may have been on your mind. For more than a year, the company has been talking about this technology that would take over the job of not only parking, but finding a parking spot. Elon Musk has brought the long-anticipated feature back into the spotlight.

What is "Tap to Park"?

Now referred to as Tap to Park, Park Seek, also once known as Reverse Summon, is an innovative feature that Tesla officials discussed at AI Day in October of 2022. At that point, Tesla said this feature should be ready by the end of the year.

That didn’t happen, and now it sounds like there have been some changes to the original idea, given Musk’s post on X.

We are working on a feature where the car identifies probable viable parking spaces. You tap on one, exit the vehicle and it parks there.

The Evolution from Autopark to "Tap to Park"

Tesla's current Autopark feature, currently only available in vehicles equipped with Ultrasonic Sensors (USS), has been a stepping stone toward autonomous parking. However, its limitations include the lack of multiple parking spot selections and drivers' need to stay in the car. Tesla users noted these constraints, indicating a need for an upgrade. The current implementation of Autopark is also slow to park and requires driving extremely slowly to get the park symbol to show up on the vehicle’s display.

Earlier this year, Tesla introduced vision-based Park Assist, a system that utilizes camera-based tech to estimate distances between the car and nearby objects while parking. This development marked a transition away from USS and laid the groundwork for more advanced features like "Tap to Park."

Is “Tap to Park” a Replacement for Park Seek?

Park Seek has been previously touted by Musk as a revolutionary feature that will let you stop the vehicle in front of a store, get out, and let the vehicle go hunt for a parking spot itself. There were even leaks that mentioned owners’ would have three parking spot options when using Park Seek. However, this new ‘Tap to Park,’ appears to be a slightly watered-down version of the original vision, that removes the ability for the vehicle to travel autonomously around the parking lot looking for a spot.

The recent deployment of FSD version 12 to Tesla employees is a significant milestone. This version improves by reducing reliance on human-written code and increasing the system's dependence on neural networks trained with real-world driving footage. Such advancements are crucial for successfully implementing "Tap to Park."

It’s possible that “Tap to Park,” is a transitioning step toward the original Park Seek vision. Park Seek has the ability to significantly change urban environments and high-density areas where parking is often challenging.

Although ‘Tap to Park’ is not expected to be a part of Tesla’s 2023 Holiday Update, a new High Fidelity Park Assist is expected to arrive as part of the holiday special this week.

It is interesting to note the timing of this Musk hint on X. Tesla enthusiast Sawyer Merritt posted about the need for 360º views. Still, Whole Mars Catalogue called the feature “irrelevant” in a world with cars that drive themselves. This comes from a Holiday Update that didn’t meet expectations. Perhaps there is another update under the tree? Or, it may be another year away. Insert your two-week joke here.

New Model 3 Performance, Racing-Inspired Seats Revealed, a Glimpse of the Front Splitter

By Kevin Armstrong
X/Nic Cruz Patane
X/Nic Cruz Patane

Tesla's reintroduction of the Model 3 Performance continues to inch closer, and just like the refreshed Model 3 and the Cybertruck, every peek gives us some more hints and builds more excitement. A recent observation of a partially covered Tesla Model 3 Performance prototype revealed the new Sport seats designed for improved comfort.

Posted on X by Nic Cruz Patane, the upgraded Model 3 Performance was sighted in Santa Monica, where the vehicle's engineering prototype displayed minimal window tinting, offering a sneak peek at the vehicle's improved seating. The Sport seats, resembling dedicated racing bucket seats, significantly depart from the current Model 3 seating options.

Sport Seats Coming to Other Models?

Tesla's initiative to incorporate Sport seats into the Model 3 Performance hints at broader plans to equip its high-performance models, including the Model S Plaid, Model X Plaid, and Model Y Performance, with similar seating options. This move will elevate the driving experience across Tesla's performance vehicle range.

These seats were also spotted a few weeks ago by enthusiast Fidel Grandez. Initially thought to be designated for the Model S Plaid, these Sport seats have found their rightful place in the Model 3 Performance, aligning with Tesla's vision for a performance-focused yet more affordable electric sedan.

New Wheels and Front Lip

In addition to the seats, the Model 3 Performance is rumored to showcase a suite of enhancements. Another angle gives a little bit of an outline of the new front lower splitter. Other aesthetic and functional upgrades include "Warp" 20-inch wheels, advanced braking systems, and revised suspension components.

Tesla has been testing the Model 3 Performance prototypes for a few months, signaling that initial production could be underway in North America. This step is crucial as Tesla aims to reintroduce the Performance trim to the market, having temporarily removed it from their lineup. The reintroduction is timely, considering the evolving landscape of EV incentives in the United States. While the official launch date remains under wraps, anticipation builds for the Model 3 Performance's debut, expected in the first half of 2024.

Cool Carpool Mom: How Kim Kardashian's Cybertruck Ride Benefits Tesla

By Kevin Armstrong
Instagram/Kim Kardashian
Instagram/Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian showcased her Cybertruck with the caption "cool carpool mom" to her 364 million followers on Instagram. The A-list celebrity and billionaire is well known for her knack for staying at the forefront of trends, making this one image a powerful endorsement for Tesla. The picture of one of the most influential celebrities of our time picking the Cybertruck as her distinctive vehicle speaks volumes about the brand's penetration into popular culture and its appeal to a broad demographic, including those who value style, innovation, and sustainability.

The Power of Celebrity Influence

Kim Kardashian's influence cannot be overstated. Her every move is watched and often emulated by fans around the globe. Her journey from reality TV star to billionaire entrepreneur has been marked by a series of successful ventures in fashion, beauty, and technology investments, making her a model of modern business acumen. Kardashian's ability to turn personal endorsements into significant trends is unparalleled, making her engagement with Tesla's Cybertruck a notable moment for the company.

Kardashian's influence extends far beyond mere product endorsement. Her strategic use of social media to connect with her audience has transformed how brands interact with consumers. She creates a personal connection that can sway consumer behavior by sharing her life, interests, and choices, including her vehicle preferences. Her endorsement of the Cybertruck can significantly enhance Tesla's brand visibility and desirability, particularly among consumers who may not have previously considered an electric vehicle.

Kardashian has recently joined the exclusive circle of celebrities seen driving the Cybertruck, a group that boasts names like Pharrell, Lady Gaga, Jay Leno, and not to forget Elon Musk himself (who, aside from being Tesla's CEO, commands a staggering following of over 370 million on X). Each of these stars wields significant influence, captivating audiences that range from thousands to millions globally.

Sustainability Meets Style

Moreover, Kardashian's endorsement comes at a time when the importance of sustainable living and eco-friendly choices is increasingly recognized. Her choice of an electric vehicle over traditional gasoline-powered cars sends a strong message about the importance of environmental responsibility, aligning with Tesla's mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy. This alignment boosts Tesla's brand and promotes a broader cultural shift towards sustainability.

In the context of celebrity endorsements, Kim Kardashian's showcase of the Tesla Cybertruck is a masterstroke. It merges the worlds of entertainment, technology, and sustainability, highlighting the evolving nature of brand-consumer relationships in the digital age. Tesla's innovative approach to vehicle design and its commitment to sustainability is amplified by Kardashian's endorsement, illustrating the power of celebrity influence in shaping consumer preferences and driving societal trends.

Ultimately, Kardashian driving a Cybertruck and branding herself as a "cool carpool mom" is a significant endorsement for Tesla, enhancing the brand's visibility, appeal, and alignment with sustainable values. In an era where brand success is increasingly tied to social influence and cultural relevance, Tesla's association with Kardashian can only be seen as a positive development, driving the brand further into the mainstream consciousness and reinforcing its position as a leader in the shift towards a more sustainable future.

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