Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, announced on Oct. 19 that the company is one step closer to creating a fully automated car, in which drivers can sleep, read, surf the web and not necessarily be present inside the car.
The full self-driving software will be included in every car. The car will include eight surround cameras, which provide 360 degrees of visibility at a range of up to 250 meters.
This element is complemented with 12 updated ultrasonic sensors, which detect both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance to the previous system.
A forward-facing radar with enhanced processing provides additional data about the car’s surroundings, on a wavelength that is able to function through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the cars ahead.
To make sense of all of this data, a new on-board computer with over 40 times the computing power of the previous generation runs the new Tesla-developed neural net, for vision, sonar and radar processing software.
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.
The car will match its speed to traffic conditions, keep within a specified lane, automatically change lanes without requiring driver input, transition from one freeway to another, and exit the freeway when your destination is near.
The automated car is also able to self-park when near a parking spot, and can be summoned to and from the driver’s garage at will.
Tesla’s Enhanced Autopilot software has already begun rolling out into the market, and features will continue to be added as validation is completed, subject to regulatory approval.
With the new technology introduced, the car will be able to steer itself in tighter and more complex roads compared to the old autopilot system.
A driver simply needs to enter the car and inform it of the chosen location. If the driver does not speak, the car will access a calendar which includes the history of the driver’s movement, and drive to the assumed destination. If the calendar is empty, the Tesla will simply take the driver back home.
When it arrives at the destination, the driver needs to simply step out of the entrance and let the car enter the “Park Seek” mode, allowing it to automatically search for a spot and park itself.
The car can be summoned back to the driver with a simple tap on the phone, using an app that is specially made for the Tesla.
Musk’s goal is to make the tesla models as affordable as possible. A Tesla car with the autopilot system will cost around $60,000 with a 5-year guarantee.
However, some claim that Musk has underlying motifs, one of which is to store all the data from owners of the car, to be sold to marketing companies. This will make Tesla a dominant player in Big Data; surpassing Google.