Automotive

Tesla welcomes the future with full self-driving hardware on every new car

Tesla welcomes the future with...
The Tesla Model 3 will be among the vehicles to come equipped with a complete self-driving hardware package
The Tesla Model 3 will be among the vehicles to come equipped with a complete self-driving hardware package
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All new Teslas will come equipped with self-driving hardware providing the vehicle with 360-degree vision
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All new Teslas will come equipped with self-driving hardware providing the vehicle with 360-degree vision
The Tesla Model 3 will be among the vehicles to come equipped with a complete self-driving hardware package
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The Tesla Model 3 will be among the vehicles to come equipped with a complete self-driving hardware package

Tesla's software already includes an Autopilot feature that makes the car semi-autonomous, but now the company wants to make sure all its cars are ready for a future where more drivers are algorithms than humans. To this end, Tesla has announced a major hardware upgrade for all new Teslas, including the Model 3, that will see every Tesla produced from this point on packing full self-driving hardware.

"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," says Tesla.

In making the announcement Wednesday, Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk also said that the company hopes to demonstrate the technology by making a US coast-to-coast trip in fully autonomous mode from Los Angeles to New York by the end of 2017.

The new hardware package that is becoming standard for Tesla includes eight surround cameras to provide 360-degree visibility around the perimeter of the car, allowing it to basically "see" everything around it within a 250-meter (820-ft) range. There will also be a dozen updated ultrasonic sensors, forward-facing radar and a new, more powerful onboard computer to crunch all that data via Tesla's neural net that's kind of like being able to see in all directions at once and on a bunch of different wavelengths that humans can't perceive.

Tesla says it is already making the Model S and Model X with the new hardware and they can be purchased now.

All new Teslas will come equipped with self-driving hardware providing the vehicle with 360-degree vision
All new Teslas will come equipped with self-driving hardware providing the vehicle with 360-degree vision

Of course, don't expect that your new Tesla will drive itself home right away. There's still millions of miles of real-world testing to be done before the company says it will enable the self-driving features. In fact, Teslas with the new hardware may be a little less capable than Teslas already on the road now with the first-generation Autopilot hardware.

"Teslas with new hardware will temporarily lack certain features currently available on Teslas with first-generation Autopilot hardware, including some standard safety features such as automatic emergency braking, collision warning, lane holding and active cruise control," the company says. "As these features are robustly validated we will enable them over the air, together with a rapidly expanding set of entirely new features."

Musk, who is notorious for having trouble meeting his own deadlines, says this process of enabling features should begin in two to three months, with more upgrades to the vehicles' autonomous capabilities coming regularly every few months after that.

Sources: Tesla, Wall Street Journal

7 comments
Deres
I am surprised that the TESLA solution does not include any LIDAR. I think that at long range, radar lack details meaning mainly cameras will be used. But it shall be remembered that current camera are less efficient that the human eye in dynamics lighting and object recognition. For instance,advertisment on bus or bus stop including people, cars or bikes may be an issue to a camera based obstacle detection system. Camera will also be blind for a few second when leaving or entering a tunnel.
Tommo
WOW - this is the future, no doubt. Im in the UK and we have Tesla P85ds as taxis, they are amazing!
Joe Blough
I'm in my Tesla working on my tablet/smart phone and not paying attention to anything. I'm not in sunny California but on a filthy salty sloppy snow covered highway (substitute a muddy road). A truck splashed much on half of my 8 cameras while at highway speed. What happens?
Island Architect
Franz, I join Bob in admiring your non-Bizarre designs.
Jason Catterall
So the Model 3 part 2 update was actually just about the autonomous features that Tesla will be rolling out on all models in the future?? Slightly disappointed.
Stephen N Russell
Will they retrofit S Models now for same systems??
habakak
Joe Blough's car: JOE!!!!!! Get your lazy ass out of of here and clear the debris obstructing my sensors!!! Unless you just want to sit here next to the highway all day! Or you can take over and drive yourself. Or more politely. What do YOU do when driving your car and your vision is severely limited due to darkness, driving rain or pounding snow and strong winds? Alternative solutions will be found. During the learning process (of the AI software) it will invariably run into these conditions. ANY condition you can think of.