Elen Musk, CEO of Tesla, said the company would “most likely” begin equipping older electric vehicles with its new design chip later this year, a significant task in which hundreds of thousands of S, X, and three models are being retrofitted.
Musk tweeted on Sunday evening that the upgrades are expected to begin by the end of the year.
Musk gave no further details. He said earlier that the upgrade is free for owners who have bought the full self-drive feature, a software package that costs $ 6,000.
Tesla offers its customers two different driver assistance packages: Autopilot and Full Self-Driving or FSD. Autopilot is ADAS, which provides a combination of adaptive cruise control and rudder steering and is now standard on new cars. FSD includes Summon as well as Navigate on Autopilot, an active guidance system that navigates a vehicle from a freeway ramp to the exit, including changing and lane changes.
While Tesla bills the FSD software package, the vehicles are not entirely autonomous. Musk has promised that the driver assistance features for Tesla vehicles will continue to improve until it reaches its full automation limit.
The customized chip introduced in April was designed as a necessary hardware upgrade to achieve this goal. Since March, new models X and S are equipped with the disk. The Model 3 followed a month later.
The custom chip was a milestone for the company. However, there is still a big challenge in upgrading thousands of so-called “hardware 2” vehicles, not to mention the ongoing development of the software.
Tesla began manufacturing electric vehicles in October 2016 with a more robust line of sensors, radar, and cameras – called Hardware 2 – on the premise and promise that the hardware is needed for autonomous driving without human intervention. At that time, the company also began selling the updated complete self-drive package, which Musk said would eventually achieve this ambitious goal.