Tesla Releases 'Autopilot HW2' Update; Elon Musk Says Might Be Available for All Cars by the End of the Week

Jan 11, 2017 12:11 PM EST | BC Tabotabo

Tesla Motors, Inc. CEO Elon Musk has recently revealed that there is a new Tesla autopilot update. The Autopilot HW2 improves HW1 and now allows ludicrous mode.

Autopilot HW2: Latest Tesla Autopilot Update Explained. 1,000 lucky Tesla owners will get to try out the all new autopilot update this week. The company's CEO Elon Musk has announced that if all looks good, it will be available for more cars by the end of the week.

Older Tesla cars built between September 2014 and October 2016 were only equipped with one camera for Autopilot. These cars may not be eligible for the Tesla autopilot update.

The latest cars now have a total of eight cameras that provide 360-degree visibility by up to 820 feet (250 meters) of range. Similar to the older models, the newer cars still only come with one radar sensor. However, it now has enhanced processing which allows it to navigate through heavy rain, dust, and fog.

The newer cars are also still using 12 ultrasonic sensors. They have now been updated to detect both soft and hard objects at nearly twice the distance compared to the previous sensors.

The newer vehicles now use Nvidia's Titan GPU. This is a new onboard computer system that has 40 times as much computing power than Tesla's previous system. Potential buyers can now opt to purchase the new Autopilot HW2 system for $5,000. The new system will utilize four out of the car's eight cameras as well as the radar, all 12 of the sensors, and the Titan GPU.

The updated Autopilot HW2 will now allow the car to match its speed to current traffic conditions. It will automatically change lanes, merge on and off highways, and park itself.

The new features will be released in phases. The first is rolling out this week to the test group. It will include active cruise control, forward collision warning, as well as Autosteer. Autosteer will be capped at speeds 35 mph and below. The Tesla autopilot update will also allow a few extra Model S P100D owners to accelerate to 60 mph in 2.4 seconds via Ludicrous mode.

New Tesla cars not in the test group will get a preview of the update in "shadow mode," showing what the car would have done if its Tesla autopilot update were live. Tesla Motors will continue to introduce new features to their update every few months throughout the year. By the end of 2017, Elon Musk believes Tesla cars will be able to drive themselves through the Autopilot HW2system. The full self-driving system will utilize all eight cameras by then.

2017 looks to be a promising year for Tesla Motors and self-driving cars. With the Silicon Valley company being the only one confident of their fully autonomous goal this year, what will other car companies have to offer?

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