Tesla announced last night that all of its cars now being produced are fully equipped with all the hardware (sensors, cameras, and a 40x more powerful processor) to allow them to operate fully autonomous (L5) once government approval has been secured, via a downloaded software upgrade. Tesla says the software to implement “Enhanced Autopilot” ($5,000 upgrade), which offers a number of enhanced features,will be ready to download by December 2016, subject to regulatory approval. When the “Full Self-Driving” ($8,000) will be validated and approved is as yet unknown, but 2018 is being suggested.
In a PR exercise, Tesla will be sending one of its cars drive fully autonomously coast to coast shortly. This video of a Tesla operating fully autonomously (in a rather benign environment) gives a good idea of what that experience will be like; obviously the “driver” in the video still needs to be alert and have his hands at the ready, due to current regulations.
My son Edward (Tweetermeyer, on Twitter, and other outlets) has been following both Tesla and AV (Autonomous Vehicles) very closely for some time, and has teamed up with Alex Roy and Damon Lavrinc on a weekly podcast (“Autonocast”) to discuss the rapid changes in the autonomous field. I listened to the latest one, #3, during my lunch yesterday; it’s engaging and a great way to keep up with the rapid changes. It’s embedded below the jump. It was recorded two days before this latest announcement by Tesla, but there’s still lots of good stuff there, and gives an excellent overview of the rapid changing landscape of AV. Update: there will be a fresh one tomorrow (Friday) in response to Tesla’s latest move.