Tesla Model S gets emergency braking, blind-spot warning

The new safety features will soon arrive via an over-the-air software update, which also adds valet mode and new range-management tools.

Tesla Motors' forthcoming software update for the Model S marks another step forward in the company's march toward fully autonomous driving.

The company focused on range-management tools in a recent media event for the revised software, but many existing owners may be more excited about the new safety technology.

The Model S will finally get automatic emergency braking, engaging in the event of an 'unavoidable' collision to reduce the risk of impact or minimize damage. The update also enables blind-spot warnings and side-collision alerts, complementing the front-collision notifications that were already enabled in previous updates.

The company took a unique approach with its hardware/software package, shipping cars outfitted with an array of radar and sonar equipment before the accompanying software was ready to enable the promised 'autopilot' driver-assistance features.

CEO Elon Musk has claimed the Model S is essentially capable of fully autonomous driving. Certain capabilities are still considered too dangerous for certain scenarios, such as suburban driving, and the company is waiting for the laws to catch up while engineers continue to refine the technology.

Owners can expect to receive the software update within a few weeks.

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