All new Teslas now have fully autonomous capabilities, Musk confirms
In its “unexpected” announcement yesterday, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk confirmed that all new Teslas will be fitted with hardware that’s capable of Stage V autonomy. But we already knew – or at least presumed that, didn’t we?
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It might not be that unexpected for those who follow the American company closely, but it’s nonetheless an important breakthrough for the company. Its Autopilot system was introduced last year and allows limited self-driving functions to operate on some roads.
However, this is the first step Tesla is taking on its route to full autonomy. All Tesla vehicles now produced – including the more affordable Model 3 – feature eight external cameras to provide the 360 degree visibility a self-driving car needs.
Twelve ultrasonic sensors that provide radar have also been updated, and can detect other cars and humans at nearly twice the distance of its forebear. The forward-facing radar enhances processing, and means the car can learn things about the world on different wavelength, meaning it will not be affected by ran, fog or dust.
It’s all controlled by a new onboard computer that offers up to 40 times the computing power of those fitted to Teslas already on the road. All this means that the car views the world in a way that a driver cannot, and sees every direction at all times – something human senses just can’t do.
Speaking on its blog, a Tesla spokesperson said: “Self-driving vehicles will play a crucial role in improving transportation safety and accelerating the world’s transition to a sustainable future.
“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.”
If you like the idea of a self-driving car, any new Tesla Model S or Model X ordered, along with the company’s upcoming 3, will be available with the new hardware. It’s unlikely we’ll see the full capability of the tech come to fruition for a few years yet though.