A recent conference call with Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has confirmed what many have been speculating was the case — the pioneering electric car company is currently working on a new “Autopilot version 2” hardware suite.
Not surprising news, the new hardware suite is a necessity if fully autonomous driving is to be achieved — as a lot of redundancy in sensory systems, processing, and power will be needed in order for “safe” autonomous driving to be possible with the long-term, regular use of a vehicle.
It’s not completely clear yet when this new hardware suite will find its way into production vehicles, with the Tesla CEO being rather non-committal on the subject when asked — but one would presume within only a few years. Possibly in time for the launch of Model 3? (I’m guessing that there might be delays before the eventual launch of the “affordable” Tesla offering.)
As noted by the commenter “satheesh.net” on the Tesla Motors Club forum, what this (likely) timeframe means with regard to electric vehicle (EV) sales for the company is an open question. After all, won’t some potential buyers be compelled to wait until the new hardware suite is available before taking the plunge? These aren’t cheap vehicles that we’re talking about here — they’re quite the investment.
Maybe Tesla will offer the new hardware site as an upgrade, though? Possibly, but it’s hard to say at this point if that’s even possible — the hardware suite is likely to include notably more cameras, radars, wiring, etc…
On this subject I think that the commenter “ecarfan” made some good points:
The only thing we know for sure is that Tesla will continue to improve their vehicles. We don’t know when improvements will occur because Tesla does not operate on the traditional “model year” schedule. If you are considering buying a Tesla, make your purchase decision based on what you can buy right now. If you think you might wait to buy because “something better is coming” you will never buy. “Something better” is always coming. So what? Teslas are awesome cars right now! My “classic” S is an awesome car.
With the company’s record as far as timing goes, if someone is interested in a Model X or Model S, perhaps they should just go ahead and get one now? (Model X buyers will still have to wait a bit of course — at least until the company gets caught up with pre-orders later this year.)
Image by Steve Jurvetson (CC BY 2.0)