Tesla: New ‘Tap to Park’ Feature Explained?

Tesla’s eagerly anticipated ‘Tap to Park’ feature, previously known as ‘Park Seek’, has been a topic of conversation for over a year. Recently, Elon Musk brought the feature back into the limelight, signalling a significant shift in Tesla’s parking features.

Key Takeaways:

  • Innovative Evolution: Initially introduced at Tesla’s AI Day in 2022, ‘Tap to Park’ has evolved from the Autopark feature and leverages advanced camera-based technology for autonomous parking.
  • From Vision to Reality: Despite delays and modifications from the original concept, ‘Tap to Park’ represents a move towards more sophisticated autonomous parking, differentiating from the initial Park Seek vision.
  • FSD and Future Directions: The deployment of FSD version 12 to Tesla employees marks a crucial step in enhancing ‘Tap to Park,’ potentially laying the groundwork for the complete realization of the Park Seek vision in urban and high-density parking environments.

Elon Musk’s vision for Tesla’s parking technology has been a topic of fascination and speculation. Originally known as Park Seek, the concept promised a system where Tesla vehicles would not only park themselves but also find parking spots. This idea, highly anticipated and discussed for over a year, has undergone several transformations.

The feature, now called ‘Tap to Park,’ was first discussed at Tesla’s AI Day in October 2022. It was expected to be ready by the end of that year. However, recent updates from Musk suggest changes to the initial concept. He stated:

“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.”

‘Tap to Park’ emerges from the limitations of Tesla’s current Autopark feature, which relies on Ultrasonic Sensors and requires the driver’s presence in the car. Tesla’s shift to vision-based Park Assist technology, using cameras to estimate distances while parking, has set the stage for more advanced features like ‘Tap to Park.’

Park Seek, as initially imagined, would have allowed the vehicle to autonomously search for a parking spot after the driver exits. ‘Tap to Park,’ however, seems to be a more restrained version of this vision, omitting the vehicle’s autonomous movement around the parking lot.

The recent deployment of Full Self-Driving (FSD) version 12 to Tesla employees is a significant development. This version minimizes reliance on human-written code, preferring neural networks trained with real-world driving data. These advancements are crucial for the successful implementation of ‘Tap to Park.’

While ‘Tap to Park’ might be seen as a transitional step towards the full Park Seek vision, its potential impact on urban and high-density parking scenarios remains significant. The timing of Musk’s announcement coincides with mixed reactions from the Tesla community, where some enthusiasts see potential in the feature, while others consider it less relevant in a future dominated by fully autonomous vehicles.

Tesla’s ‘Tap to Park’ feature represents a noteworthy step in the evolution of autonomous parking technology in Teslas, though it might still be a stepping stone towards the more ambitious Park Seek vision.

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