Even after a fatal accident and a widely publicized dispute with Israeli company Mobileye, Tesla and Elon Musk, its founder, CEO, and CTO, are still charging ahead. The company announced today that from now on, all the new cars it sells would accommodate autonomous driving.
Next year: Autonomous travel from Los Angeles to New York
Starting today, all Tesla cars, regardless of the model, will include hardware that facilitates level 5 fully autonomous driving. Level 5 autonomous driving means that the car can travel with no intervention from the driver, making things like a steering wheel, accelerator pedal, or brakes totally unnecessary. Tesla says that when being driven autonomously, the car is safer than a driver-controlled car.
In order to provide autonomous driving capabilities, every Tesla car will now have eight cameras and 12 ultrasound sensors. These cameras provide the car with 360-degree coverage up to a range of 250 meters. The sensors can also identify different objects, both soft and hard, at a great distance. The cars will also have improved front radar capable of detecting events on the road in a heavy rain, fog, dust, and even other cars ahead. In addition to the sensors, Tesla has also upgraded the car’s main computer responsible for processing the large quantity of data, based on Nvidia’s Titan card. According to the company, the new processor is 40 times as powerful as the previous processors.
The company announced at the same time that not all the autonomous options will be available in the first stage. They will be a “shadow service,” meaning that they will run in the background, accumulating learning miles and helping the company’s technology reach the desired level of maturity. A simple OTA update will then make these options available. On stage at Tesla’s event, Musk promised that by the end of next year, the company would present a fully autonomous trip from Los Angeles to New York.