Mark your calendar for the rise of the machines.
It took the human race until 1954 to run the four-minute mile, a feat that took Roger Banister many episodes of trial and error as well as grueling practices. Now in 2016 we appear to be on the cusp of passing yet another milestone, building autonomous cars. Just like Banister’s training regimen it will only be made possible through countless instances of trial and error. As Elon Musk’s latest tweet indicates, Tesla may roll this feature out in as little as a few weeks through an over the air update that will tweak software settings.
This means that the Model S and Model X will have greater faculty to distinguish dangers and see the road. Dubbed Autopilot 2.0 or Version 8.0, this latest software packet will better help the process inputs from the car’s radar system and determine whether there is indeed danger upcoming or just a threatening street sign. While this won’t do anything to upgrade Autopilot-equipped Teslas from level 2 autonomy to level 4 (where a car can pilot itself with no driver input) in the eyes of the SAE, it will help the cars better avoid obstacles and be safer than before. The exciting part comes from the fact that Elon Musk mentioned that there will be a version 8.1 coming, which could be the big ol' level 4 autonomous car we’ve been waiting for.
Most Teslas out on the road aren’t exactly ready for this. To achieve level four autonomy, new sensors will need to be installed in current models, including additional radar and even a lidar sensor, a sensor that uses the principals of radar detection but via laser. Already, installation of a front-facing triple camera has been implemented in the new Model S and we wouldn't be surprised if Musk announced upgrades to Autopilot's hardware to be featured in subsequent models as well as an option for current Tesla owners to make the switch. Musk tweeted that he will be posting an update on his company's site soon to fill us in on Autopilot 2.0. Once that drops we're sure Tesla nerds will be counting down the weeks.