Elon Musk says Tesla’s Autopilot/ autonomous driving system update is going to result in “quantum leap” improvements, and is going to be pushed to the fleet in the coming “six to 10 weeks.”
Tesla Autopilot is good, but it can do better. If the autonomous driving system developed by the American brand is certainly one of the most efficient, and that it already offers relatively advanced functions allowing in theory a peaceful and safe driving with less human intervention, it is still far from gaining unanimity among drivers. Because not only, with Tesla which is at level 2 of autonomous driving, we are still very far from level 5 (the highest in the hierarchy), but over the updates, supposed to perfect and improve the system, certain strange behaviors, even worrying sometimes appear. This is particularly the case with the phenomenon of "phantom braking", or inadvertent braking,
At Tesla, we work tirelessly to improve Autopilot, to such an extent that following various updates, the latest version, for those lucky enough to benefit from it in the USA , for example allows Tesla to recognize traffic lights and adapt their behavior accordingly, stopping at a red light without driver intervention.
A "quantum leap" thanks to a homemade chip
But if iterative updates are necessary and constitute one of the strengths of Tesla's software architecture, they are sometimes no longer sufficient, and significant improvements must also go through an evolution of the hardware, and in particular of the managing microprocessor of all the intelligence of cars. This is how the brand announced in spring 2019 that it had abandoned the Nvidia Drive platform, in favor of its new home chip. The latter ( Full Self-Driving computer) is in particular integrated into all models of the range manufactured since March 20, 2019. Elon Musk had even committed to install this new chip free of charge on models manufactured before that date, on request, during an operation maintenance by appointment. The promise seems kept since the American owners of Tesla affected by this modification testify in various forums to have already benefited from the intervention, lasting approximately one hour, and to have therefore left the Tesla Center with a brand new home chip, much more efficient, and compatible with the next important evolutions of Autopilot.
Elon Musk returned to the subject this week, and announced that the rewrite of the Autopilot / Full Self-Driving (FSD) program will allow for a "quantum leap", just that. It will therefore not be a simple evolution, but according to him a complete rewrite of the program, which risks really bringing about radical changes in autonomous driving:
“The FSD improvement will come as a quantum leap, because it’s a fundamental architectural rewrite, not an incremental tweak. I drive the bleeding edge alpha build in my car personally. Almost at zero interventions between home & work. Limited public release in 6 to 10 weeks.”.
By "limited version" Elon Musk probably means that, in accordance with its usual procedures, Tesla will make the update available to Tesla owners who are members of the "Early Access" program who first test an advanced beta version of certain new features. and give their opinion before Tesla releases it to the entire fleet.
Elon Musk, number one Autopilot-tester
Elon Musk had already alluded to the next version of autopilot in a previous statement reported by Electrek:
“So I personally tested the latest alpha version of the full autonomous driving software when I drive my car and I think it's really better than people think. It's incredible. I have almost reached the point where I can go from home to work without intervention, despite the road works and the very varied situations. This is why I am very confident that the full self-drive feature will be completed by the end of the year, because I actually use it. "
Recall that Musk also announced in 2019 that by the end of 2020 Tesla would put on the road a fleet of robotaxis , these autonomous taxis based on Model 3, which could only be functional with the most advanced version of Autopilot. . Features that European Tesla owners are unlikely to take advantage of, since the regulations do not allow certain functions that are common on the other side of the Atlantic, while the (high) price of the FSD option is the same in Europe as in the USA.
However, the "Elon Musk time" is not quite the same as that of the atomic clock, we may still have a few months ahead of us to see it coming ...