Tesla recently updated its onboard media computer, but the automaker also has a separate custom Autopilot computer to power its driver assist features and eventually, its self-driving capabilities.
Today, we get out first look at Tesla’s latest version of this Autopilot (2.5) computer in current Model 3, Model S, and Model X vehicles.
Last fall, Tesla introduced a new Autopilot hardware suite, dubbed “2.5”, in all its vehicles to enable more power and redundancy for its future self-driving capability. It built on the Autopilot 2.0 released a year earlier.
At that time, Tesla claimed that the new suite would eventually enable “fully self-driving capability” with future software updates. We got a look at that computer after a teardown last year.
But the automaker also said that they might need to upgrade the Autopilot computer inside those vehicles in order to get more computing power.
The new “Autopilot 2.5” brought the first update to that computer and we have never seen the board until now.
A Model S owner with “Autopilot 2.5” sent us a few images of the new board:
As we previously reported in our exclusive report about AP 2.5, the main difference is a new secondary GPU for more computing power and redundancy.
After releasing the new computer, CEO Elon Musk said that Tesla is still attempting to reach full autonomy on the original hardware suite, but they might retrofit the computers (free of charge) if they can’t.
We also got a picture of the Model 3 Autopilot computer (thanks to Caresoft), which features an almost identical board. Electrek added the annotations on the right picture:
There are a few differences since the hardware suite is not exactly identical.
For example, the Model 3 is equipped with a driver-facing camera, which is not yet available in the Model S or Model X.
The camera, which Tesla refers to as a “Selfie Cam”, is currently inactive in the current version of the Model 3 software.
As we have often discussed in the past, onboard computing inside vehicles is becoming increasingly important with all the technological changes that the auto industry is currently experiencing.
Tesla seems to have understood that early on and now they are becoming increasingly involved in this aspect of their vehicles.
Musk even confirmed that the automaker is working on its own AI chip.
We expect that Tesla will frequently update their onboard computers going forward and the good news is that unlike many other upgrades that Tesla often quietly introduces in its vehicles, they have already said that they are planning retrofits if needed when it comes to the Autopilot computer.
But I don’t think that we will see those retrofits until Tesla reaches the potential of the Autopilot 2.0 computer.
The latest update showed some great improvements, but I assume their still plenty of room to grow on the current hardware.