Once again our readers guessed it right (well 40% of you). You said that today’s announcement would be about Autopilot 2.0/Tesla Vision and you were right. Though Tesla seems to be moving away from the name ‘Autopilot’ since it’s going full autonomous.
The company announced tonight its second generation autonomous driving hardware and confirmed that it is in all vehicle off the assembly line right now. CEO Elon Musk said that will enable full level 5 autonomy.
It’s available in the Model S and X now going forward, and every Model 3 will be equipped with the new hardware suite – hence why Musk referred to the announcement as the ‘Model 3 part 2’, but that’s the extent of the information released today about the upcoming $35,000 all-electric vehicle.
Though there’s plenty to learn about Tesla’s new autonomous hardware suite.
Tesla significantly changed its hardware suite from what it was previously working on – with now fewer radar antennas and instead, a focus on cameras to take advantage of its new ‘Tesla Vision’ product.
It basically skipped the Autopilot 2.0 level 4 version hardware suite that it was planning and jumped to 360 camera coverage for level 5 autonomy.
The picture above is what the system can see now with the new sensor and hardware suite:
- 8 cameras – 3 front-facing
- better ultrasonic
- 40x more powerful onboard computer – Nvidia GPU Titan supercomputer
Musk highlighted the integration of the new sensors saying that you can barely see the difference between the old and new suite despite having 7 more cameras.
The CEO said the new hardware suite will not offer Autopilot capabilities on par with the old hardware suite at first, but it will be similar after a few months of software improvements. By early next year, it should start to be better than the current Autopilot and of course, that’s through over-the-air updates.
It will reach level 3 autonomy in the coming months and level 4 and 5 should follow for full autonomy by 2018 – but again, in vehicles produced today in 2016.
The new suite is on all car produced by Tesla starting from earlier this week. The safety features enabled by the system will be standards on all cars for free, but like Tesla’s ‘Autopilot Convenience features’ were $3,000, the new options also come at a price – and it’s more expensive.
In order: old ‘Autopilot Convenience features’ option which is not available anymore, new ‘Enhanced Autopilot’ and ‘Fully Self-Driving’:
In order to get to fully autonomous driving, you are going to need to spend $8,000 on the system, but a cheaper $5,000 option is still available with 4 active cameras instead of 8.
We are currently in a press conference call with Tesla CEO Elon Musk who is now taking questions about the announcement. We will be sharing what we learn from the call as soon as possible. Stay tuned and keep refreshing the post.
Update: press call is over. We will stop updating this post and we will soon bring you new ones highlighting very interesting new tidbits of information about the new “Autopilot”. More photos and videos should be following soon.
Here’s Tesla’s full blog post about the announcement:
All Tesla Vehicles Being Produced Now Have Full Self-Driving HardwareSelf-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.We are excited to announce that, as of today, all Tesla vehicles produced in our factory – including Model 3 – will have the hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level substantially greater than that of a human driver. Eight surround cameras provide 360 degree visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range. Twelve updated ultrasonic sensors complement this vision, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system. A forward-facing radar with enhanced processing provides additional data about the world on a redundant wavelength, capable of seeing through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.To make sense of all of this data, a new onboard computer with more than 40 times the computing power of the previous generation runs the new Tesla-developed neural net for vision, sonar and radar processing software. Together, this system provides a view of the world that a driver alone cannot access, seeing in every direction simultaneously and on wavelengths that go far beyond the human senses.Model S and Model X vehicles with this new hardware are already in production, and customers can purchase one today: https://www.tesla.com/autopilotBefore activating the features enabled by the new hardware, we will further calibrate the system using millions of miles of real-world driving to ensure significant improvements to safety and convenience. While this is occurring, 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 breaking, collision warning, lane holding and active cruise control. As these features are robustly validated we will enable them over-the-air, together with a rapidly expanding set of entirely new features. As always, our over-the-air software updates will keep customers at the forefront of technology and continue to make every Tesla, including those equipped with first-generation Autopilot and earlier cars, more capable over time.