Originally published on CleanTechnica.
It’s a certainty that Tesla is currently working on an upgraded “2.0” version of its Autopilot hardware suite — which is reportedly being developed with the intent of supporting fully autonomous driving.
While there’s much speculation on the subject, not much solid info has been revealed about what exactly the company is working on. Images recently surfaced, though, showing a Model S test mule outfitted with a great deal of extra sensors and cameras — presumably a test version of Autopilot hardware suite 2.0?
As seen in the image above, that is quite a substantial amount of extra gear…. What else could it be if not Autopilot hardware suite 2.0?
Teslarati provides more:
This sighting of what appears to be a test mule in Pennsylvania won’t help those still on the fence. Spotted by Darren Schilberg at the Cranberry Supercharger north of Pittsburgh, the two-toned Model S appears to be a platform for the next generation Autopilot 2.0. The underlying car is a pre-refresh Model S, as distinguished by its plastic rocker panels and headlights. The new Model S fascia has been substituted on the nose, but with concessions to the older car’s Autopilot sensors by way of cut-outs in the bumper.
…On the refreshed Model S, the forward facing radar is internal to the fascia, but here again the radar of the older test car is clearly visible still lurking in the lower air intake area. The presence of so many sensors– seemingly overlapping– on the front of this Model S suggests Tesla could be trying to accelerate their development time on Autopilot 2.0. The original Autopilot system is clearly present and wired in (the cabling for the radar is visible and there are holes for the ultrasonic sensors in the fascia).
The refreshed Model S fascia wasn’t put on for fun as the non-matching paint is hardly stealthy. It seems likely the refresh’s sensor suite is still perched behind the updated fascia– and perhaps even replaced with a new sensor suite to test its compatibility with the new S fascia. The elevated chunk of fascia appears to be at the right ride height for a Model X… which then raises the bar significantly.
Could it be that Tesla’s engineers are able to run the “legacy” Autopilot, current Model S and X Autopilot and also be testing Autopilot 2.0 sensors concurrently?
An interesting thought. Testing multiple iterations at the same time could allow for some interesting comparative analysis.