It's not often that we see cars with "future-proof" technology but that's precisely what Tesla is doing, as all cars being produced from now on will come with the all hardware needed for full self-driving mode, allowing it to become completely autonomous, when the software is ready.
Tesla has decided to include a complete self-driving hardware package (worth $8000) to all cars coming out of its production line .
This enhanced self-driving package includes:
- Eight surround cameras provide 360 degree visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range.
- Twelve updated ultrasonic sensors complement this vision, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system.
- A forward-facing radar with enhanced processing provides additional data about the world on a redundant wavelength, capable of seeing through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.
- A new onboard computer with more than 40 times the computing power of the previous generation.
Tesla's objectivo is to have a car that is capable to go coast to coast by the end of 2017, without the driver needing to lay a finger on anything (including charging and looking for a parking spot after the driver steps out at his/her destination.)
The only thing keeping this from being activated today is the software. Tesla wants to "learn" with millions more miles to make sure it's completely foolproof and to that effect it will use a very clever technique. With this updated hardware and software Tesla's cars will drive around with its Autopilot mode enabled at all times, but in a special "ghost mode". Meaning, the car will do all the calculations as if it were driving itself, but not actually driving. It will simply be continuously comparing what it would do with what the driver is doing, and in the process it will learn when it would have done something wrong - as well as when it could have behaved better than the driver.
... Now all we need is those affordable Model 3 Teslas to come out...