Now that Tesla’s new Full Self-Driving computer is in production, CEO Elon Musk elaborated on the state of the capacity of the current generation versus the new more powerful computer.

When Tesla introduced its second generation computer for Autopilot back in 2016, Musk confirmed that Tesla was starting to reach the limit of the first generation hardware.

They couldn’t introduce new features to the system, but they could still do some incremental improvements to the existing features.

We are starting to see the same situation happening on the second generation hardware as Tesla brings the third generation into production.

Last week, Tesla confirmed that the new full self-driving computer is in production and vehicles delivered over the last few weeks appear to have the new computer.

Now Musk says that Tesla’s current software takes about 5% of the computing load of the new computer:

That compares to ~80% of the capacity of cars equipped with the Autopilot 2.5 computers – meaning that it is starting to reach its capacity.

Of course, it also depends on the level of redundancy.

For example, Musk explained how they handle redundancy with the new FSD computer:

“Two, independent system-on-chip architecture, with each SoC having two NN accelerators that can perform simultaneous health-check calculations to protect against a soft error.”

Musk says that as Tesla improves its software over the course of the year and gets closer to the full capacity of the last generation Autopilot computer, the automaker will start offering the retrofit for free to owners who purchased the Full Self-Driving package.

The CEO also confirmed that Tesla’s mobile service team will be able to install the new computer without owners having to go to their local service center.

Electrek’s Take

I have been saying it for a while: computing power inside vehicles is going to be one of the most important aspects of a car with the advent of self-driving systems.

It is going to become important for automakers to have the latest and most powerful computing technology available inside their vehicles.

I am glad that Tesla was one of the first automakers to understand that and implement it.

Now I am a little concerned about the retrofits. There will be hundreds of thousands of retrofits to do and it will be an incredible workload.

For over 6 months now, I have a Model 3 Performance that is supposed to have a badge and spoiler installed by Tesla’s mobile service team and it has yet to happen. I can’t imagine how long it will take if they also have to add a supercomputer to the list.


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