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Tesla says it now has full self-driving hardware for all cars being produced

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【Summary】After a series of accidents regarding Tesla’s “autopilot” system causing controversy internationally, the company announced on Oct 19th that now its cars are equipped with hardware for fully-autonomous driving.

Original Claire    Oct 26, 2016 11:25 PM PT
Tesla says it now has full self-driving hardware for all cars being produced
Claire Peng

By Claire Peng

After a series of accidents regarding Tesla's "autopilot" system that made international headlines, the company announced last week that its cars are equipped with hardware for fully-autonomous driving. 

"We are excited to announce that, as of today, all Tesla vehicles produced in our factory – including Model 3 – will have the hardware needed for full self-driving capability at a safety level substantially greater than that of a human driver." Tesla said in its statement.

It further mentions there are eight surrounding cameras installed in the car that can provide 360 degree visibility around the vehicle with up to 250 meters of range. Moreover, twelve updated ultrasonic sensors add to the visibility, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the prior system. A forward-facing radar with enhanced processing provides additional data about the outside environment on a redundant wavelength. It is capable of seeing through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.

Elon Musk hit Twitter while releasing the news. Last week he seemed to indicate Tesla will soon be revealing an "unexpected" product that will leave the public in awe. 

On Tesla's webpage, a 4-minute short video has been displayed in which a Tesla car goes out of garage by itself. Of course a safety driver sits behind the wheel as required by state law when driving on city streets. The car smoothly enters the highway, detecting passing-by motorists and cars, and then arrives at Tesla headquarters. The most noteworthy thing is that the car drops off its driver at the front entrance of Tesla and then finds a parking spot by itself. As it drives around the parking lot, it successfully detects a pedestrian and stops. Then after finding a spot, it does parallel parking with some pretty smooth moves. 

Take a look right here:

https://player.vimeo.com/video/188105076?color=cc0000&title=0&byline=0&portrait=0&player_id=188105076

An unnoticeable move by the driverless car was as noted by Musk on Twitter. And this is pretty remarkable -- it even skips a spot designated for vehicles with disabled parking permits because it recognizes it's not allowed to park there.

The fully-autonomous technology Tesla presents here has quite a few highlights. For highway self-driving, it's relatively easy and predictable as there are no stops on roads. But when driving on city streets, conditions can be varied and complicated—lots of stops, suddenly appearing pedestrians, and blind corners all pose challenges for the self-driving car's detection and reaction ability. It seems that Tesla handles it quite well. 

Tesla has emphasized that its Model S and Model X vehicles with the aforementioned new hardware are already in production and customers can purchase them now. 


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