Today an official video released by Tesla announced that all new models are to be equipped with hardware to enable “fully autonomous” driving modes.
Eight surround cameras will be fitted to all new models to provide 360 degree visibility, as well as twelve updated ultrasonic sensors and a forward facing radar. This means that once the software required is completed and wirelessly installed, the cars should all be fully autonomous enabled. Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, last month announced that fully autonomous Tesla cars should be rolling off the production line by next year. It was announced that all radar equipped Model X and Model S vehicles built in the last two years will get an automatic wireless update, including those in the U.K.
This roll-out is one part of a huge step forward for driverless cars. Autopilot functions have seen a noticeable revamp in the new update and geocoding has been vastly improved, now able to better flag up false negatives into GPS data to be shared with other Tesla vehicles. Lane detection also works much in the same way in that Musk describes as “fleet learning”.
Some of the publicity surrounding autonomous cars over the last year has been negative. Collisions involving driverless cars have been regularly making the news; Google had the dubious honour of being responsible for the first crash caused by a driverless car when it ploughed into a California bus earlier in the year.
Although the public is still coming round to the concept of driverless cars, there does still remain a tangible concern with regards to safety. Musk believes that Tesla cars are already the safest on the road, and has recently claimed that the recent updates should further improve safety levels by up to 50%. “It’s about improving the probability of safety; we have about 160,000 Tesla cars covering billions of miles, so even if it’s one in a billion, there won’t be zero injuries or zero fatalities,” said Musk.
Also announced was the arrival of the Model S and Model X new 100kWh battery pack. This will make the Model S P100D the fastest accelerating car in production in the world.
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