After teasing us about an ‘unexpected’ launch for days, legendary innovator and Tesla founder has today introduced major upgrades for self-driving capabilities of his electric vehicles. The company announced that it is fixing all of its new Tesla cars(including Model 3) with robust self-driving hardware, that is capable of achieving full Level 5 autonomy in the future. With a software update that’ll be delivered in the future, Tesla’s will have “a safety level substantially greater than that of an average human driver.”
To make the Tesla fully autonomous and free of control of the driver, the company has gone all out and packed cars with a buttload of sensors. Each vehicle now produced in the Gigafactory will now pack in eight surround cameras that provide an all-round 360 degree visibility upto 250 meters, and twelve updated optical cameras to complement the surround ones. These updated optical cameras are capable of detecting both soft and hard objects, with twice the range as compared to previous hardware.
In addition, the electric vehicles will also come with a forward-facing radar with enhanced processing in tow. This provides additional data on a redundant wavelength and is not only capable of seeing the car ahead, but will also help you navigate through heavy rains, fog and even dust. That may seem like a lot of sensors and cameras but you need not worry about the design of your electric car as Musk says that the kit won’t cause “weird protuberances” or make the car look funny.
Since Tesla electric cars will now come all packed with autonomous drive sensors, the company has juiced up the processing power of its existing on-board computer as well. It now provides over forty, yes! 40, times the processing power of the previous generation hardware, and runs the new Tesla-developed neural net for vision, sonar and radar processing software. During the discussion, Musk expanded on the neural net and said that it doesn’t require any external hardware and is based on Nvidia Titan GPU.
Together, this system provides a view of the world that a driver alone cannot access, seeing in every direction simultaneously and on wavelengths that go far beyond the human senses,
says Elon Musk in the official press release.
The new hardware is already in production and is being added to new Tesla cars, but most of the features will not be activated at the moment. Tesla says it needs to “further calibrate the system using millions of miles of real-world driving” to ensure safety and convenience of drivers. Due to the same, every Tesla packing new hardware will temporarily lack some renowned safety features, including automatic emergency braking, collision warning, lane holding and active cruise control. These will be timely activated after extensive tests and validation.
Tesla will continue to beef up your electric vehicle with latest features and improvements via an over-the-air update.
As always, our over-the-air software updates will keep customers at the forefront of technology and continue to make every Tesla, including those equipped with first-generation Autopilot and earlier cars, more capable over time.
reads the official statement.
But, the most impressive feat that Musk wants to demonstrate with these new hardware-packed Tesla’s is to complete a fully-autonomous drive from Los Angeles to New York by the end of 2017. In addition, he also shed light on the fact that the powerful new computer will continue operation in ‘shadow mode’, so the company can show that their self-driving would’ve been safer for driver during an unfateful accident.
Also, another important fact about this autonomous kit is that it will set back new buyers an additional $8,000. The new Model X and Model S are already in production and you can order on right away. Go autonomous!