Just yesterday Tesla Motors unveiled a new Autopilot hardware capable of providing level 5 autonomy. Each and every Model S and Model X leaving the Tesla factory now are equipped with this type of hardware. Read further for the detailed look on equipment making Teslas fully self-driving.

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Autopilot hardware 2.0 includes 8 cameras, ultrasonic sensors, the radar and a powerful Nvidia computer.

3 front-facing cameras are located at the interior mirror. The main unit has 150 m of range and 50 degrees field of view. Additionaly, there are a narrow forward camera (250 m, 35 degrees) and a wide forward camera (60 m, 150 degrees).

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Then, the side forward-looking cameras at the center pillars between the doors has a 90 degrees field of view. Those units record cars entering the Tesla’s lane and are used while crossing intersections. Two more side cameras placed at the front fenders are rearward-looking, checking blind spots on both sides, thus providing safe lanes changing. Finally, there is one rear-view camera at the back of the car. By the way, the cameras are equipped with heaters.

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The radar and ultrasonic sensors also play an important role – the first one recognizes any obstacles in 160 m in front of a Tesla, while the sensors are working at 8 meters distance.

All this hardware is managed with a neural net developed by Tesla, which interpretes the images from cameras and sensors with a help of Nvidia GPU Titan supercomputer. By the way, the managing unit uses an independent channel and is not somehow connected with UI or media center.

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According to Elon Musk, the autopilot with upgraded hardware would be getting a software updates every 2-3 months. At first, there would be new versions of Autosteer and Summon with a broader functionality. And afterwards – approximately, in a year or so – Tesla electric cars would be able to drive any distance and roads without any driver’s assistance, including the whole parking process and charging. Expectedly, a new era of self-driving cars is coming at the end of 2017, somwhere near the Model 3 production start.

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