Tesla started production of the vehicles which with hardware for full autonomous driving, and starting today all models will be delivered with it. As Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla said, new autopilot will be capable for level five autonomy operations, while current is on level two.
New equipment, named Autopilot hardware 2, using eight surround cameras. Three of them are placed to face forward, and covering 360 % distinct visibility around the car for up to 250 meters range. Besides, Hardware 2 is accessorized with 12 upgraded ultrasonic sensors detecting objects at almost doubled range of the current system. Forward-facing radar can return, but it’s getting a process upgrade and a new redundant wavelength, which providing additional data. In that way system can see through rain, fog, dust, and even the car in front, according to Tesla. Hardware 2 is following the new onboard computer with more than 40 times stronger power than in current Autopilot systems.
Although installed, many features of Autopilot will not be serviceable in first generation
ModelS and ModelX with new hardware specification are already in production and immediately available for purchasing. As company previously announced Model3 will be standard equipped with Autopilot Hardware, and the latest info is it’s going to be new Hardware 2. However, before activation of all new characteristics, automaker will run so-called “shadow mode” for about 1.5 million kilometers (1 million miles), in order to be sure that all improvements are functioning without obstacles. It practically means that many features of first generation Autopilot, like automatic emergency braking, collision warning, lane keep assist, or adaptive cruise control, will not be serviceable. Tesla is promising new upgrades of the peculiarities for models equipped with Hardware 2. On the other hand, there is no possibilities to upgrade to Hardware 2, models that have installed first generation system.
After the crash of ModelS using Autopilot from May this year, Tesla is under pressure to reduce Autopilot functions until they are improved to perfection. In relation, let’s mention that just several days ago, German transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt asked Tesla to stop using the term “Autopilot in advertisement, arguing it can lead consumers to think the car is far more capable than it is. Tesla refuses that request saying that fully warns drivers of the limitations of the system and defended using the word autopilot in the statement: “This is how the term has been used for decades in aerospace: to denote a support system that operates under the direct supervision of a human pilot.”