Tesla Autopilot upgrade boosts processing speed, not so much self-driving ability

The upgrade boosts computing power for Neural Net, but doesn't make the car any more self-driving.

A new upgrade for Tesla's Autopilot driving system could boost its performance across all its cars in as little as six months from now, Tesla Inc chief executive officer Elon Musk revealed in a tweet.

Once released, the upgrade will be available in all new cars as well as older cars that run on Tesla's latest Autopilot hardware.

The chip upgrade itself is a simple enough remove-and-replace of the older chip.

A Tesla charging station for its electric cars. Reuters

A Tesla charging station for its electric cars. Reuters

It will be built-in and free of charge for any of Tesla's customers that buy a fully self-driving car and cost roughly $5,000 to customers looking at the upgrade.

The new chip would improve the performance of Tesla's self-driving cars by 500 to 2000 percent, Musk said in another tweet.

The new hardware includes a boost to the Autopilot's computing power.

This would do little in the way of enhancing the ability of the car to self-drive but does give more leeway for the recent software upgrade to Neural Net (from V8.1 to V9.0) that boosts its processing power.

This evidently means more operations per second for Neural Net but doesn't relate directly to enhancing the Autopilot hardware's independence.

While being a driver-assist system that outsources some of the driving tasks, Tesla's Autopilot still requires the driver's hands on the steering throughout. The feature can take control of the vehicle on a lane briefly, but demands the driver's full attention throughout the drive.

Could a software update for the feature be out around the same time?


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