Tesla has announced that it will be adding new hardware as part of its bid to attain completely autonomous driving or Level 5 autonomous driving. These hardware components will be added as standard features on all Model 3 and Model S sedans as well as Model X crossovers.
The original Autopilot system that Tesla had originally developed corresponds to Level 3 or “conditional automation.” When this system is used, the car deals with the brakes, acceleration, and steering the car when in certain driving modes while monitoring the external environment. Nevertheless, a human driver is needed for what is termed as “dynamic driving tasks,” like responding to events and changing lanes, watching the road, using turn signals, braking and accelerating.
In the case of a vehicle that has full Level 5 autonomy, a vehicle doesn’t need a human driver at all as the systems in the car can handle any type of driving situation without any input from the driver.
The new Tesla Model 3s, Ss, and Xs will all use eight cameras that are capable of providing a 360-degree view at distances up to 820 feet. These cameras could be located at conventional spots like the top of the windshield as well as less common points like the B-pillar and facing backwards from the fender badges in order to cover all possible vantage points.
The use of such technology however comes at a price. These models will not have safety features that are seen in conventional models like adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and forward collision warning. According to Tesla, these systems will be disabled on the new models till it conducts millions of miles of real-world driving in order to further calibrate the system. It will then use an an over-the-air update to re-enable these popular features.
As part of the drive to attain level 5 autonomy, tesla has installed a new, more powerful computer which is 40 times more powerful than the old Autopilot and is supplied by Nvidia. Tesla says the system employs a “neural net” to see “in every direction simultaneously and on wavelengths that go far beyond the human senses.”
The cars will also know where we need to go without us having to tell them based on their analysis of our daily routine. Hence, if we regularly get into our car to drive to work at 8 am, the car will automatically steer towards our workplace if we get into it at 8 am, without us needing to feed in our destination on the system.
Just like Google can tailor our search results or give us traffic information and Facebook can customize our news feed content, Tesla’s in-car intelligence system will be able to drive us to the place we want to reach whether it is our favorite restaurant or our office based on its access to our calendar and directional commands. Tesla has also said it is working on an update to its Autopilot hardware and is aiming to achieve full Level 5 autonomous driving by the end of this year, which might be a tad ambitious.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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