Tesla's huge announcement was kept a secret for a few weeks now but this Wednesday night, Tesla CEO Elon Musk finally announced that all new Tesla cars manufactured from now will be equipped with hardware that allows it to be fully autonomous, including its cheapest and most awaited Tesla Model 3. This system will provide a Level 5 autonomy for all Tesla Cars.
Level 5 Autonomy
For the uninformed, autonomous driving is classified into 5 levels.
Level 1 is when the car requires a human driver but is able to perform certain management functions autonomously under certain circumstances. An example would be emergency braking.
Level 2 is when at least two systems are able to work together without human intervention in handling the vehicle. An example of level two would be the joint work of adaptive cruise control along with system maintenance channel.
Level 3 is when the driver can yield to vehicle handling functions under certain conditions both traffic and environmental. In this case, any change in such circumstances requires the driver to resume vehicle handling.
Level 4 is when the car is able to handle himself in any circumstances during the entire duration of the trip. The driver can at any time access control of the vehicle but there is no need to do so.
Level 5 is when no human being interaction is needed to take control of the vehicle. But this doesn't mean that owners of the Tesla Model 3, S or X can sit in the back while their vehicle leads to a predetermined destination in the near future. The system and software need to be calibrated, verified and updated several times during a trip.
Tesla's Great Revolution
Tesla has been popular since last year as they offer a semi-autonomous electric vehicle. The huge Tesla announcement last night represents the next step n the Silicon Valley automaker to sell cars that can travel the roads without human assistance.
The hardware consists of eight cameras that have a range of up to 250 meters and which can obtain an image 360 degrees. To analyze the camera's detected objects, hardware also has twelve ultrasonic sensors to determine their hardness and distance from the car. Finally, it should be noted that it also have a weather radar to see the rain, fog, and dust scattered around the perimeter. Top this of with a new computer that is reported to be 40 times more potent than the current one, according to CNET.
Although all new Tesla made starting today will have this hardware, at the moment it will not be activated because it will take the time to calibrate the system further. After further testing and obtaining regulatory approvals, all cars leaving the assembly lines Tesla will have the ability to drive itself.
Musk has predicted that the new technology will be twice safer than a human driver. But he added that the development of this technology will skyrocket the price of Tesla vehicles, which already exceed $ 80,000 depending on the features you want the owner.
"Should mention that retrofitting to full self-driving hardware is very difficult. Cost delta is more than buying a new car. Wish it weren't." said Musk on his Twitter account.
To add the software and activate the necessary hardware to be fully autonomous will cost an additional $8,000, according to the Dailymail. This will be an increase of more than 20% to the cost of Tesla Model 3 which is at $ 35,000 and is scheduled for delivery next year.
At the mean time, Musk also promised to release a video showing a Tesla Model car navigating a complex urban environment using 100% autonomy. It is a must-wait video for all Tesla fans out there.