Today Tesla announced all new cars are to be equipped with self driving technology.
After a mysterious two day postponement, Tesla Motors announced their latest product development, declaring all Tesla vehicles produced in their factory – including upcoming Model 3 – will have the hardware needed for full self driving capability to improve safety. Using 8 cameras to provide 360 degree visibility around the car at up to 250 metres of range, complimented by 12 ultrasonic sensors allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the previous system.
To demonstrate the system, Tesla have produced the following short video where a Model X is shown negotiating an urban environment to arrive at Tesla offices, drop-off it’s passenger and locate a parking space:
The new forward-facing radar is described as having:
“Enhanced processing provideing additional data about the world on a redundant wavelength, capable of seeing through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead”.
All this hardware works towards Elon Musk’s vision of fully-autonomous vehicles. The system will only be made live following an extensive testing programme of the relevant software during millions of miles of real-world driving. It is worth noting, Tesla state, during this process cars fitting with new hardware will:
“Temporarily lack certain features currently available on Teslas with first-generation Autopilot hardware, including some standard safety features such as automatic emergency braking, collision warning, lane holding and active cruise control.”
One question on my mind is how this innovation could effect the resale value of current models as early cars not equipped with Auto Pilot hardware have taken a dip in value. One positive outcome could be some possible used bargains. In a late night tweet from Elon Musk, the Tesla CEO discounted the idea of retrofitting this new hardware, stating it is cost prohibitive.
Also, Elon expanded on the potential self-driving functions, stating:
“When searching for parking, the car reads the signs to see if it is allowed to park there, which is why it skipped the disabled spot. (in the video above)
When you want your car to return, tap Summon on your phone.
It will eventually find you even if you are on the other side of the country”