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Tesla to roll out hands-free steering on Model S in three months

The logo is seen on a new all-wheel-drive version of the Tesla Model S car in Hawthorne, California October 9, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

By Paul Lienert

(Reuters) - Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O) plans to offer hands-free steering on its Model S sedan in about three months, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said Thursday.

The automatic steering feature, which will be available only when driving on the highway, will be part of a continuing series of free software upgrades delivered wirelessly to Model S owners, Musk said.

Tesla is among several automakers, including BMW (BMWG.DE) and Daimler AG's (DAIGn.DE) Mercedes-Benz, offering over-the-air updates. Tesla has been more aggressive than most others in pushing such software updates, which Musk said would continue to be released every three or four months.

The electric car maker also announced the release of a new Range Assurance feature that will warn Model S drivers before they run out of battery power. The feature will be bundled with a trip planner that will help owners map "optimal" travel routes, Musk said.

Among new features to be delivered later this year, in what Musk said would be Version 7.0 of the car's operating software, is one that will enable owners to summon their car remotely from the garage.

The Version 7.0 software also will be installed in the new Model X crossover that goes into production this summer.

(Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)