In just six months, Tesla recreated its own proprietary version of the Mobileye Autopilot technology.
It took Mobileye years, and millions of dollars to create the chip that helped power Tesla's Autopilot system. In September of last year, the two companies parted ways due to disagreements in the timeline of the technology (the split was actually pretty messy). Tesla had to rebuild the system on its own, from the ground up. Tesla's Autopilot 2.0 system uses eight cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and forward-facing radar.
For a period of time, owners of cars with second-generation Autopilot had to wait for the system to come to parity with the original version of Autopilot. This has happened over the course of time, in the way of progressive incremental roll out of over-the-air software updates. Musk's announcement at the Q1 earnings call, that Tesla completely recreated the technology, helps to make more sense of what has been happening all along.
As much as Tesla surely would have preferred to get the system up and running at its full potential as soon as possible, safety was of the utmost importance. Rushing the development of the system could have had dire consequences. While waiting six months or so likely seemed like forever to those in possession of the second-generation Autopilot vehicles, six months is impressive in retrospect.
Musk is still confident that a Tesla vehicle will be able to traverse the U.S. without any driver intervention, prior to the end of the year. He shared:
“November or December of this year, we should be able to go from a parking lot in California to a parking lot in New York, no controls touched at any point during the entire journey.”
Aside from the Boring conversation, Musk spoke to the Autopilot system at the recent TED 2017 conference in Vancouver. He said (via Teslarati):
“Once you solve cameras for vision, autonomy is solved; if you don’t solve vision, it’s not solved … You can absolutely be superhuman with just cameras.”