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The breaking news from Tesla is in: all cars manufactured at the company’s factory in California as of October 19 will be equipped with a full self-driving system. The system, according to the carmaker, will greatly improve the safety of driving, and at the same time reduce transportation costs.
The system sports features such as eight cameras that offer a complete 360-degree view of the vehicle’s surroundings at a distance of up to 250 meters. Self-driving enabled Tesla’s sport 12 ultrasonic sensors to detect soft and hard objects at a distance twice as long as the one Tesla’s old Autopilot system covered. The cars also have a forward-facing radar capable of “seeing” through heavy rain, dust, and fog, and even through the car in front of the Tesla vehicle.
The data received from all these elements is processed by an all-new computer that is 40 times stronger in terms of computing power than the previous Autopilot’s software, making the self-driving system, according to Tesla, safer than any human driver – certainly good news in light of the notoriety that the Autopilot system gained earlier this year.
Although the self-driving enabled vehicle can be ordered immediately, Tesla warned at the end of its announcement that all these features are not yet available. The self-driving system needs to be further calibrated based on data from millions of miles in human driving.
The cars with the new system, according to the Verge, will only use it in shadow mode, which means the software will only passively register the actions it would take at some point or another during a journey, and then Tesla will analyze the data to identify pitfalls and other potential issues.
While this calibration goes on, the Teslas that are now leaving the factory will be short some features, including some that were default features for the old Autopilot system, including automatic emergency braking, collision warning, active cruise control, and lane holding.
As soon as the calibration is complete, Tesla says, the new features will be enabled over the air, as will other new features, about which the carmaker did not go into detail.
The news comes just a couple of days after Apple announced that it is scaling back its own self-driving car project, focusing now only on self-driving software.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.