All Tesla cars leaving the factory now have the highest-rated autonomous driving capabilities, company CEO Elon Musk said late Wednesday in a much-anticipated announcement.
“The basic news is that all vehicles exiting the factory have hardware necessary for level-5 autonomy,” said Musk, whose company operates a design center in Hawthorne. He said last week that he would make a “big” announcement Monday but delayed it to Wednesday because the company was making a video of a “Tesla navigating a complex urban environment” to demonstrate the new hardware capabilities, he posted on his Twitter page.
“We’ve gone from one camera to eight cameras, three of which are forward cameras,” Musk told reporters Wednesday night. “That’s a pretty big upgrade. The computing power increases by 40 percent. It will be capable of 12 trillion operations per second. It’s basically a supercomputer in a car.”
The cameras will have a vision range of 250 meters and twelve updated ultrasonic sensors to detect objects at nearly twice the prior system’s distance.
“A forward-facing radar with enhanced processing provides additional data about the world on a redundant wavelength, capable of seeing through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead,” according to a company statement. “Together, this system provides a view of the world that a driver alone cannot access, seeing in every direction simultaneously and on wavelengths that go far beyond the human senses.”
Statistically, the company’s old Autopilot system was safer than manual cars, Musk said. But the upgrade makes it twice as safe as a human-operated vehicle.
The new level-5 autonomous systems are a jump from the former level-2 systems. Tesla has come under scrutiny from federal regulators and the media since its Autopilot system failed in May in a Model S, causing a crash that killed the driver in Florida.
More to come.