The new feature, known as Summon, will initially be trialled on private property. For example, when drivers arrive home, they can get out of the car, which will enter the garage and park itself automatically.

When leaving the house, drivers can go out the front door and summon the car via a smartphone app.

Tesla said the feature will also eliminate the burden of having to squeeze in and out of tight parking spots.

The company explained in a blog post: “During this Beta stage of Summon, we would like customers to become familiar with it on private property.

“Eventually, your Tesla will be able to drive anywhere across the country to meet you, charging itself along the way. It will sync with your calendar to know exactly when to arrive.”

Tesla’s chief executive Elon Musk tweeted that the full feature could be available in just a couple of years, and told the BBC that vehicles that could not drive themselves would soon become a “strange anachronism”.

Summon is the latest autonomous feature added to Tesla software in recent months. Previous upgrades have seen Model S and Model X’s capable of staying in lanes, adjusting speeds and changing motorway lanes automatically.

Back in August, Tesla also released a video of an autonomous ‘snakecharger’ it is working on.

In a BBC interview, Musk said it was an ‘open secret’ that Apple was working on a driverless car. It has been a busy few weeks for next-gen vehicles, with a flurry of new, longer-range electric cars unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Brad Allen

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