Tesla’s big announcement has now been revealed; all newly produced Tesla cars – including Model 3 – are getting new hardware for full autonomy! Tesla says that, “Full autonomy will enable a Tesla to be substantially safer than a human driver, lower the financial cost of transportation for those who own a car and provide low-cost on-demand mobility for those who do not.”
Now, eight surround cameras will provide 360 degree visibility around the car at up to 250 metres of range. Twelve updated ultrasonic sensors complement that vision, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system. A forward-facing radar with enhanced processing is capable of seeing through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.
A new computer, 40 times more powerful than the previous version, will help the car analyse all this extra data. This will run what the company calls a ‘Tesla-developed neural net for vision, sonar and radar processing software’.
New Model S and Model X customers can purchase this technology today, but there’s one big caveat with the new hardware.
Features that drivers of Tesla cars have came to love – adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane holding, collision warning – won’t be available through the second-gen Autopilot at first. Instead, Tesla will be calibrating the new technology through millions of miles of real-world driving to ensure significant improvements to safety and convenience.
Only once they’ve tested the new technology will the carmaker unlock the features via an over-the-air software update. Fortunately, this will also come with entirely new features, which Tesla hasn’t revealed yet.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, said that his aim is to have a car drive from Los Angeles to New York without human input, including charging. He promises to post a video of a Tesla navigating a ‘complex urban environment’ shortly – this is why the company delayed their announcement by two days earlier this week.
This update should come as a nice addition for those looking to purchase one of the brand-new Tesla cars, and Tesla promises that those with first-generation Autopilot will also have their hardware made more capable over time.
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