The Model 3 pre-orders went gangbusters before the car was even officially unveiled. After it was, they continued to flow in, surpassing 400,000 in April and this week we learn new orders won’t be received until 2018. There’s no doubt Tesla have a smash hit on their hands with the Model 3 and that’s amazing considering we still don’t know all the features the final car will ship with.
Today we got a major confirmation on a critical technology, self-driving or Autopilot will ship in all Tesla vehicles, including the Model 3.
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.
If we read between the lines, this means the hardware will be standard, however it doesn’t mean the feature is standard. Like we’ve seen Tesla do with battery size options, its likely going to be a feature you can either choose to pay for at the time of purchase, or unlock later with your credit card, if you decide you want it (you do).
The system will be made up of 8 surround cameras provide 360 degree visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range. Twelve updated ultrasonic sensors complement this vision, 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 world on a redundant wavelength, capable of seeing through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.
Processing this volume of data on-board is a challenge in itself, and that’ll be done with a new onboard computer with more than 40x the computing power of the previous generation. It runs the new Tesla-developed neural net for vision, sonar and radar processing software. Together, this system provides a view of the world that a driver alone cannot access, seeing in every direction simultaneously and on wavelengths that go far beyond the human senses.
When it comes to the safety of this self-driving technology, Tesla are taking the challenge seriously. Before activating the features enabled by the new hardware, they plan on further calibrate the system using millions of miles of real-world driving. During this phase, Teslas with new hardware will temporarily lack certain features currently available. On Teslas with first-generation Autopilot hardware, including some standard safety features such as automatic emergency breaking, collision warning, lane holding and active cruise control.
As these features are robustly validated we will enable them over-the-air, together with a rapidly expanding set of entirely new features. Over-the-air software updates will keep customers at the forefront of technology and continue to make every Tesla, including those equipped with first-generation Autopilot and earlier cars, more capable over time.
You can read more at Tesla.com