Tesla has announced that all vehicles being produced now will have full self-driving hardware.
Although it’s not quite the Tesla Model 3 “part 2” announcement many were anticipating, the American electric automaker has confirmed that all new vehicles being produced now will have the hardware necessary for the vehicle to be fully autonomous. That includes the upcoming Model 3 as Tesla continues to focus on building up its Autopilot software despite all the controversy currently surrounding it.
In total, eight surround cameras will be used to provide 360-degree visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range, Tesla said in a blog post. In addition, 12 updated ultrasonic sensors will complement the vision, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system. There will also be a forward-facing radar with enhanced processing to provide additional data about the world on a redundant wavelength that is capable of seeing through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.
In order to make the new system work, Tesla vehicles will be outfitted with a new onboard computer that the company claims has more than 40 times the computing power of the previous-generation unit. The computer will run the new Tesla-developed neural net for vision, sonar, and radar processing software.
Both Model S and Model X vehicles with the new hardware are already in production, and customers can purchase one today. But before the company can activate the new hardware, it has to further calibrate the new system using real-world driving data. Interestingly enough, Tesla vehicles with the new hardware will temporarily lack certain features that current Tesla vehicles have with first-generation Autopilot hardware, including automatic emergency braking, collision warning, lane holding and active cruise control. Once those features get validated, they will be enabled through over-the-air updates.
It might not be the news that Tesla Model 3 fans are anxiously waiting for, that is to see the final design, but it’s good news to know their cars will be future-proofed and will eventually be capable of Level 5 self-driving.
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