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Tesla to make all its cars autonomous

By raccars Published

Tesla

Tesla cars to have autonomous hardware to make them safer than human-driven vehicles.

Tesla has announced that every car it now produces will have the hardware necessary to allow it to drive autonomously. The company claims that every vehicle made in its factory, including the Model 3, will have the capability to self-drive at safety levels which are ‘substantially greater’ than a human driver could achieve.

Tesla says that self-driving cars will be crucial in improving road safety and in the acceleration of the global transition towards a sustainable future. Fully-autonomous hardware, according to Tesla, will also make ownership more affordable for car owners and offer low cost mobility on-demand for those people who do not own their own vehicle.

Autonomous features from Tesla

Tesla’s autonomous technology includes eight surround cameras, which offer 360-degree visibility up to a range of 250 metres, and twelve updated sensors with ultrasonic capabilities. The latter add to the car's vision capabilities and allow for the detection of both soft and hard objects at almost 100 per cent greater distance than the earlier system.

There is also a front-facing radar which includes enhanced processing to provide extra data. This can see through extreme conditions, including dust, fog, and heavy rain, as well as monitoring the distance from car ahead.

Tesla’s new neural net, meanwhile, boosts radar, sonar and vision processing. The cars’ on-board computers have 40-times more power than the previous generation and are combined with processing software to give an enhanced world-view that could not be accessed by a human driver. Tesla claims that it can see in all directions simultaneously and that the system makes use of wavelengths which go way beyond human senses.

Model X and Model S cars with the new Tesla hardware are already being produced and are available to buy. Tesla says, however, that before the hardware is enabled to activate the new features, the system will be further calibrated with the use of real-world data to improve convenience and safety.

While this is happening, Teslas equipped with the latest hardware will lack certain features for a while which are available with the first-generation Autopilot technology. This includes some of Tesla’s standard safety features, such as automatic emergency braking, lane holding, active cruise control and collision warning.

Tesla says that the features will be enabled ‘over the air’ as they are ‘robustly validated’, together with an ever-expanding set of new features. Tesla claims that the firm’s over-the-air capabilities will ensure that its customers stay at the head of the technology charge.

The company says that it is committed to ensuring that each Tesla becomes increasingly capable over time, including cars which have been equipped with the first-generation Autopilot technology, in addition to earlier models.

Cross-country driving

Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk, meanwhile, has pledged that by the close of 2017 there will be a Tesla vehicle which can drive itself autonomously from Los Angeles all the way to New York City without any human intervention.

This promise puts Tesla years ahead of its major competitors in the race to the fully autonomous car. Ford is looking at a 2021 deadline and China’s Baidu is aiming at 2019. Google has yet to set a hard timeline but 2021 is likely, and GM is looking likely to follow a similar timescale. What’s more, none of these companies are talking about vehicles which could cross America.

However, Musk has a track record of missing deadlines. Tesla products which have missed due dates are numerous and include Autopilot, the Model 3, the Model X, the Model S and the Roadster. But they do arrive eventually.

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