Tesla is working to bring to market its new Autopilot Hardware 3, which consists of a new neural net computer that they claimed will be the ‘world’s most advanced computer for autonomous driving’.
The company is now testing the new hardware in employee vehicles as part of its ‘Full Self-Driving Test Program’.
Earlier this year, Tesla sought “hundreds of employees” to test its full self-driving system and offers free Autopilot upgrades with new purchases.
The automaker is retrofitting participants’ vehicles with the new computer to test the self-driving system.
Despite first starting the program in September, CEO Elon Musk says that they still need “a few hundred more internal participants”.
Musk wrote in an email to employees this week:
“Tesla needs a few hundred more internal participants in the full self-driving program, which is about to accelerate significantly with the introduction of the Tesla designed neural net computer (known internally as Hardware 3). This has over 1000% more capability than HW2!”
Tesla wants employees to give feedback to the Autopilot team and in return, they will not have to pay for the Full Self-Driving Capability package, which is not even an option anymore.
The CEO added in the email:
“If you elect to participate in the program and provide feedback for improvement to the Autopilot team, the $8,000 cost of FSD will be waived. This is on a first to purchase basis and will close as soon as we have enough participants. this is the last time the offer will be made.”
Musk also reiterated that anyone, employees or customers, who ordered the Full Self-Driving Capability package will receive a free upgrade to the new Hardware 3 computer.
Earlier this year, Musk said that Tesla aims to release the new hardware during the first half of 2019.
Tesla is expected to still release improved Autopilot features through software updates and owners with the new hardware can expect more advanced autonomous features, which Musk thinks will lead to full autonomy by the end of 2019.