Tesla is expected to release a new Autopilot/Full Self-Driving hardware suite imminently and now more details have leaked.
Since 2016, Tesla has claimed that all its vehicles produced going forward have “all the needed hardware” to become self-driving with future software updates.
It turned out not to be true.
Tesla already had to upgrade its onboard computer and cameras in earlier vehicles, and it has yet to achieve self-driving capability. Its Full Self-Driving (FSD) software is still in beta and doesn’t enable fully autonomous driving.
When new hardware is needed to achieve the FSD capability, Tesla says that it is providing it for free. Separately, Tesla has also been expected to improve on its hardware suite over time while still delivering on its promises through software updates working on the older hardware.
However, there have been doubts amongst industry experts about the capability to deliver on the promises without some major changes to Tesla’s sensor suite.
Tesla has lately started to indicate that some major changes are coming. For example, after famously removing radar sensors from its hardware suite, we learned last month that Tesla is planning to add one as soon as this month.
Additionally, we also reported on a Tesla Model 3 prototype that potentially featured a new Autopilot/Full Self-Driving hardware suite.
Now some additional information about Tesla’s Autopilot hardware update, which some refer to as Autopilot HW 4.0, through regulatory documents coming out of China – where Tesla often implements production changes first.
Based on the leak, Tesla is planning to update the front-facing camera hub with two higher-resolution cameras instead of 3 lower-resolution ones.
The new camera hub now also appears to be equipped with a new fan or heating system to help keep the camera clear.
It is also being added to the camera on the B pillars.
However, the new information doesn’t mention any camera being added to the sensor suite, throwing some cold water on the prospect of adding headlight/bumper cameras seen on the Model 3 prototype.
I am really curious about this upcoming Tesla Autopilot hardware update.
Tesla was always going to keep improving its Autopilot/self-driving hardware so there’s nothing wrong with what’s happening, but it still feeds into the growing concerns that Tesla can’t achieve its promised self-driving capability with the current hardware.
So there’s a possibility that Tesla is going to unveil a new suite of self-driving hardware this month that just improves the capability, and Tesla still plans to deliver self-driving on the current hardware.
But I think there’s room for concerns after Tesla has been wrong about self-driving several times already. It might be wrong about the current vehicles being able to achieve it.
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