If there was ever any doubt that Elon Musk’s Tesla was all in on autonomous cars, today’s announcements settle it for good. What is reportedly a fully capable autopilot is already in all Tesla cars currently in production.
Tesla Motors announced earlier today that “All Teslas in production now have Full Self-Driving hardware”, in a monumental step towards making autonomous vehicles available to the general public. They are talking about fully autonomous self-driving cars that navigate through daily traffic, plan optimal routes, park independently after dropping you off at your destination, and then pick you up again at a tap of a button, Batman style.
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.
Tesla is equipping their newest system with hardware that reportedly ensure safety two times greater than any human driver ever could. That includes eight camera that provide 360 degrees of visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range, twelve ultrasonic sensors that allow for detection of objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system, and a forward-facing radar able to see through heavy rain, fog, dust, and even the car ahead:
An autopiloted Tesla should be indistinguishable from other cars on the road in terms of behavior, according to what they have promised. These cars should be able to automatically adjust their speed to traffic conditions, keep within a lane, and even switch lanes when needed, or when a faster lane is available. We recommend that you take a look at the video below that Tesla published a few hours ago, detailing the capabilities of the new self-driving system.
However, if you happen to already own a Tesla, you are fresh out of luck. Elon Musk later took to Twitter and clarified that retrofitting a car with the new self-driving hardware would actually be more expensive than buying a new car.
Nevertheless, the ideal of simply getting inside a car, telling it where to go, and reaching that destination as quickly and safely as possible, is within reach. We will be holding our breaths to hear what the first customers have to say.