The Tesla computer, a new custom chip that provides the full self-drive capability, is now included in all new models 3, X and S vehicles, said CEO Elon Musk during the company’s Autonomy Day.
Tesla switched from Nvidia’s Drive platform to their custom chip for the S and X models about a month ago and the model 3 about ten days ago, Musk said.
“All the cars that are produced have the necessary hardware – computers and others – to drive on their own,” Musk said. “All you have to do is update the software.”
Work is already underway on a next-generation chip, Musk added. The design of this modern chip was completed “maybe one and a half, two years ago.” Tesla is now about midway through the design of the next age chip.
Musk wanted to focus the conversation on the current chip, but he later added that the next generation was “three times better” than the current system and was about two years away.
The software limitation on full self-drive is essential. Tesla vehicles are not considered fully autonomous or as Tier 4, a name given to SAE, which states that under certain conditions, the car can handle all aspects of driving without human intervention.
Instead, Tesla vehicles are “Level 2,” a more advanced driver assistance system than most other cars on the road. Musk has promised that the driver assistance features for Tesla vehicles will continue to improve until it reaches its full automation limit.
Tesla offers its customers two different driver assistance packages: Autopilot and Full Self-Driving. Autopilot is ADAS, which provides a combination of adaptive cruise control and rudder steering and is now standard on new cars. The price for vehicles has been adjusted to reflect the addition of autopilot as a standard feature.
Full self-driving (FSD) costs an additional 5,000 USD. (And to be clear, vehicles do not drive entirely on their own.) FSD includes Summon, as well as Navigate on Autopilot, an active guidance system that navigates a car from a freeway ramp to the exit, including changing and driving lane changes. As soon as the driver has entered a destination in the navigation system, he can activate the option “Navigate to autopilot” for this trip.