Tesla’s promise to deliver regular updates on a frequent basis seems to be holding up for now. The largest EV manufacturer has just rolled out with the latest Autopilot update, and it seems to be a rather substantial one. Could it be hinting that Tesla’s autonomous Los Angeles to New York trip is closer than we think? Perhaps. It’s not that unlikely.
Dubbed the Enhanced Autopilot, cars built since October 2016 come with it as an optional extra. It upgrades on Tesla’s first Autopilot attempt with eight cameras (instead of the original system’s one), as well as 360-degree visibility and 240 meters of range.
There’s still just one sensor, but the processing has been enhanced to make it see through heavy rain, fog and dust a lot clearer. All of this paves the way to completely autonomous vehicles, something Elon Musk claims we’ll all be driving in the next couple of decades.
The existing 12 ultrasonic sensors have been revised as well. The latest software upgrade gives them the ability to spot hard and soft object at almost twice the distance of the previous sensors. Elsewhere, there’s a new onboard computer system, known as Nvidi Drive PX2. It’s got a whopping 40 times more computing power than the outgoing system, used in the pre-facelift Model S. Naturally, there’s a small premium to pay for all of this. $5,000 to be exact. Though that’s quite a bit of money, you get the radar, 12 sensors and new onboard system all in one single package.
Eventually, the Enhanced Autopilot will make the car so smart and autonomous it will be able to match its speed to the traffic conditions, merge itself and even change lanes without any driver input. Seeing as how the current Tesla cars can already park themselves, as well a technically drive on their own, we’re willing to bet we’re closer to a completely autonomous future than most of us think we are.
The latest software change comes with its own little “Easter Egg”, namely in the form of a sprint time of just 2.4 seconds to 60 mph in the P100D. Ludicrous mode truly is that… ludicrous. Musk was adamant we’ll see a completely autonomous Tesla model by the end of 2017, and that’s only couple of months from now.
The self-driving system is expected to be an $8k option, so on that basis, not a lot of people will decide to take the plunge and “test drive” first-gen autonomous vehicles. Elon Musk claims the system will be so advanced it will be able to manage intersections with signs and traffic lights, roundabouts, and pedestrian crossings.