Today, Tesla updated its language regarding Autopilot and self-driving capability on its website – walking back some previously announced features and further confusing some owners.
The updated language is partially explained by Tesla reshuffling Autopilot and Full Self-Driving package options last week after the launch of the base Model 3, but there are other changes that are more confusing.
First off, Tesla updated the reference to its Autopilot hardware to “new” cars have the hardware necessary for “future” self-driving capabilities through software updates:
“All new Tesla cars come standard with advanced hardware capable of providing Autopilot features today, and full self-driving capabilities in the future—through software updates designed to improve functionality over time.”
Considering Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been recently saying that future self-driving capabilities will only work with a new computer to be released in the Autopilot Hardware 3.0 upgrade, this updated language makes it sounds like Tesla is now installing the new computer in “new” cars.
We contacted Tesla to clarify the situation about Hardware 3.0 and will report back if we hear anything. As far as we can tell, it is still not shipping in new cars.
Furthermore, Tesla updated other parts of its Autopilot and self-driving capability language to walk back some features, like the potential for self-driving to work with upcoming automated charging station in order to charge without human intervention.
The automaker also removed any mention of the Tesla Network, the company’s self-driving ride-hailing network.
It also added the requirement to have driver supervision even with full self-driving capability.
Here was the old Tesla self-driving language versus the new one updated today:
I can understand some of those changes based on Tesla’s controversial shuffling around of the Autopilot options, but other aspects are strange.
The language makes it clearly sounds like no hardware upgrade is necessary for full self-driving capability yet Tesla says that it is not yet in new vehicles.
Last year, Pete Bannon, Tesla’s chip architect in charge of the project, said that they were ramping up their manufacturing effort and aiming to start production of the Autopilot Hardware 3 computer around the end of the first quarter of 2019.
We are now pretty much at the end of the first quarter 2019.
Furthermore, we reported last week that Tesla started to push software to work with the new Autopilot Hardware 3 to some vehicles in its fleet.
Any way you look at it, it sounds like Hardware 3.0 is imminent and if it’s not already in new cars, I feel like Tesla should update that language again because anyone reading this statement would think that no hardware upgrade is required, which is apparently not the case.