After teasing and delaying the announcement via Twitter, Elon Musk finally let the cat out of the bag yesterday: all Tesla models produced from now on will be fitted with hardware that allows full self-driving capability.
“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. Eight surround cameras provide 360 degree visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range,” the Tesla press release stated. A new onboard computer with more than “40 times the computing power” than the previous version will be used to run Tesla’s neural net for vision, sonar and radar processing software.
At the moment Tesla cars already come with a semi-autonomous system called Autopilot and although all the new cars produced will be fitted with the hardware that Musk referred to as “Hardware 2”, the fully automated system will not be activated yet.
As communicated by The Wall Street Journal, Musk told reporters yesterday, “It will take us some time into the future to complete validation of the software and to get the required regulatory approval, but the important thing is that the foundation is laid for the cars to be fully autonomous at a safety level we believe to be at least twice that of a person, maybe better.”
Tesla believes that full autonomy will be much safer than a human driver, lower transportation costs for car owners and provide low-cost on-demand mobility for those who do not have their own vehicles.