First off, before we begin the article, it’s important to note that Autopilot is not autonomous driving. A human driver is still necessary, and the driver acts as eyes for the vehicle. As Tesla says, the goal of introducing Autopilot is to provide the driver with a safer, stress-free drive.
The Autopilot is available in the Model S and the Model X SUV.
The new technology provides a 40x improved performance compared with the previous generation.
The new Autopilot system is equipped with:
1) Three forward-looking cameras.
There’s a wide camera, a main camera, and a narrow camera.
The wide camera is used to capture obstacles, and the narrow camera is specially useful during high-speed operation.
2) Two forward-looking side cameras and two-rearward looking side-cameras.
These are especially useful during lane change movements.
3) The vehicles are also equipped with radar and ultrasonic capabilities.
Once on the freeway, Autopilot can manage the full control of your car. It will adjust its speed to match that of other vehicles, change lanes accordingly, stay within the marked boundaries of a lane, and even switch lanes and take the off-ramp to exit the freeway. Once the exit is complete, the driver can take over.
The new generation of Tesla vehicles are equipped with the next generation of deep neural network capabilities, allowing for sensory input to be processed instantaneously so the vehicle can follow through with the appropriate response.
However, on its website, Tesla does state the a fully-autonomous option is available, subject to local laws and regulations. The fully autonomous feature is able to navigate through densely-packed urban traffic – even in instances with no lane markings, read stoplights and other signs, and is even able to park the car for you.
With the autonomous option, the car has the ability to tap into your personal calendar, read your appointments, and take the optimal (fastest) route to reach your destination.
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For more information, visit Tesla’s website.