Tesla has announced that every car it builds from now on will have the capacity to drive itself.
Despite criticisms over its Autopilot program, and calls from Chinese and German authorities to remove ‘Autopilot’ references from promotional material, Tesla is ploughing ahead into the self-driven future.
“We are excited to announce that, as of today, all Tesla vehicles produced in our factory – including Model 3 – will have the hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level substantially greater than that of a human driver,” the carmaker said.
Tesla says autonomous vehicles will play a key role in reducing incidences of road trauma, while also driving down transport costs and ensuring stable transport options into the future.
Further, Tesla adds that for those who cannot afford a car or who chose not to drive (or are unable), autonomous vehicles will soon offer budget-priced transport that’s more convenient than ever.
As previously outlined, Tesla has ramped up the reliance on radar technology, along with no less than 12 ultrasonic sensors in place along with eight 360-degree cameras providing up to 250 metres of range.
This is almost twice the former range of Tesla’s current Autopilot system, and the program now has the ability to distinguish between hard and soft objects. The on-board computer has also been wound up to 11 (as Tesla likes it - or 40 as the case may be), with 40 times the power of its predecessor.
The forward-facing radar can see ‘through’ heavy rain, dust, fog and even the vehicle immediately in front.
“Together, this system provides a view of the world that a driver alone cannot access, seeing in every direction simultaneously and on wavelengths that go far beyond the human senses,” Tesla said.
Autonomous Teslas are already in production and are available to order now, but before the carmaker rolls out the new tech, current Tesla drivers will need to do it ol’ school for a while…
Yes, oddly perhaps, Tesla will disable some of its existing semi-autonomous features in vehicles with the new hardware while it gathers ‘real world’ data to ensure the system is ready.
As each feature is “robustly validated”, they will become available to owners through over-the-air updates.