Elon Musk kills hope of Tesla retrofitting new Autopilot/Self-Driving hardware

Elon Musk has killed the little hope some had for Tesla in offering a retrofit to the new Autopilot/Self-Driving hardware (HW4) to current Tesla owners.

Tesla is expected to announce a new Autopilot/Self-Driving hardware suite, which has been referred to as Hardware 4.0 (HW4), any day now.

There have been quite a few indications that some major changes are coming. For example, after famously removing radar sensors from its hardware suite, we learned in December that Tesla is planning to add one as soon as this month.

Additionally, we also reported on a Tesla Model 3 prototype that potentially featured a new Autopilot/Full Self-Driving hardware suite.

Finally, a report coming out of China showed that Tesla applied with regulators for some modifications to its vehicles, including new Autopilot cameras.

Top comment by Ian Ollmann

Liked by 63 people

Engineers' instincts predicted this future when I bought my M3 in 2018.

Never, never, never, never, never pay for unfinished features. Odds are they are unfinished for a reason. Even if they do finish them, it may require big changes to the original design.

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Now during Tesla’s conference call for the release of its Q4 2022 financial results, CEO Elon Musk was asked about the potential of Tesla offering retrofits to the new hardware for current Tesla owners, but the CEO shut down the idea:

The cost and difficulty of retrofitting Hardware 3 with Hardware 4 is quite significant. So it would not be, I think, economically feasible to do so.

However, he did clarify that he still expects Tesla’s full self-driving promises to be achieved with the current Hardware 3, which should ease some concerns that many owners had.

Musk said during the call:

Hardware 3 will not be as good as Hardware 4, but I’m confident that Hardware 3 will so far exceed the safety of the average human. So how do we get ultimately to – let’s say, for argument’s sake, if Hardware 3 can be, say, 200% or 300% safer than humans, Hardware 4 might be 500% or 600%. It will be Hardware 5 beyond that. But what really matters is are we improving the average safety on the road.

However, the CEO didn’t discuss Tesla achieving true full self-driving capability that will enable a robotaxi service approved by regulators, which ultimately is what the company has been promising to every Tesla owner since 2016.

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