Germany may be complaining about the term ‘Autopilot’ used to describe Tesla’s autonomous driving system, but the company is full steam ahead with the next version.
Tesla announced that all cars being built now and going forward will feature what it calls ‘Full Self-Driving Hardware’, granting the Model S, Model X and Model 3 the ability to tackle roundabouts, junctions and other more difficult elements of driving without driver input.
The system requires eight surround cameras that provide a 360-degree view within a 250-metre range. That and a 40 times more powerful processor will help Teslas process what it is seeing around it far quicker than ever.
The autonomous system also features 12 updated ultrasonic sensors and a forward-facing radar that allows a Tesla to see through heavy rain, fog, dust, around a blind corner and even through a vehicle in front of you.
Tesla was keen to point out it will only enable the new features after ‘millions of miles of real-world driving’ to ensure maximum convenience and safety. It also said the new breed of cars will lack automatic emergency braking, active cruise control, collision warning and lane holding in the meantime.
As for the Summon feature, which can be used to drive a Tesla out of a space without anyone in the car, the future version hopes to be able to pick you up from wherever you are. So no need to waste time driving around aimlessly to find a parking space.
Tesla believes the cleverer Autopilot safety system will make put its cars ‘at a safety level substantially safer than that of a human driver’. It also said it will help lower the cost of transportation for those who own a car and provide cheaper on-demand mobility for everyone else.
In related news, a German minister asked Tesla to ditch the term ‘Autopilot’ because it can make consumers think their car is more capable than in reality, which could endanger the driver.
The video below shows the system in action and, while the footage is sped up substantially, it provides a glimpse at what a proper self-driving future may look like. Scary or impressive? You decide.