Tesla putting hardware for full autonomy in all models; temporary loss of some Gen1 Autopilot functions
Tesla announced that effective immediately, new Tesla vehicles—including Model 3—will have the hardware needed to support full autonomous driving.
The required software for full autonomous driving is still under development and will need validation and regulatory approval. In fact, Teslas with the 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.
As Tesla proceeds with its testing and validation, it will enable those missing features over the air, together with an expanding set of new features, it said.
Tesla’s hardware system includes:
8 surround cameras (up from four) providing 360 degree visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range;
12 updated ultrasonic sensors, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system; and
a forward-facing radar with enhanced processing to provide additional data about the world on a redundant wavelength, capable of seeing through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.
The vehicles will feature a new onboard computer with more than 40 times the computing power of the previous generation to run the new Tesla-developed neural net for vision, sonar and radar processing software.
Model S and Model X vehicles with this new hardware are already in production.
Tesla notes that self-driving functionality is dependent upon extensive software validation and regulatory approval, which may vary widely by jurisdiction. Tesla also cautioned that using a self-driving Tesla for car sharing and ride hailing for friends and family is fine, but doing so for revenue purposes will only be permissible on the Tesla Network, details of which will be released next year.
Enhanced Autopilot. An enhanced version of Autopilotwill match speed to traffic conditions; keep within a lane; automatically change lanes without requiring driver input; transition from one freeway to another; exit the freeway when your destination is near; self-park when near a parking spot; and be summoned to and from the driver’s garage.
Tesla expects its Enhanced Autopilot software to complete validation and be rolled out via an over-the-air update in December 2016, subject to regulatory approval.