The new Tesla Autopilot and Self-Driving computer, known as Hardware 4.0, HW4 or FSD2, has made an appearance online via Twitter user @greentheonly, who’s known for his hacks and workarounds on the American EV maker’s models.
The Twitter user who got his hands on the company’s new Autopilot computer says it came out of a Model X and that the carmaker has already started building the electric SUV with the upgraded hardware, but that deliveries are yet to begin.
We previously reported that Tesla filed for regulatory approval in China and Europe for modifications to its driver assistance system, which includes adding back a radar device, more cameras, plus other features.
Now, with this Hardware 4.0 teardown, it looks like the previous stories we wrote about were true, with @greentheonly revealing 12 “fully-populated camera connectors,” with one being used as a spare, as well as coding for the rumored four-dimensional Phoenix radar. As a reminder, Tesla removed the radar and ultrasonic sensors from its cars and went on a “vision-only” path for its driver assistance systems, with the latest models using eight cameras to “see” the road.
The new cameras might be added in the front and rear bumpers for rear cross-traffic alert and an improvement in the forward-facing blindspot that’s present on legacy cars.
Diving deeper into the actual hardware components, there is good news and bad news. The good news is that the infotainment computer is now integrated into the main board, which means the GPU daughterboard has disappeared, making the whole unit slimmer. The bad news is that the infotainment power remains the same as before, with a 256 GB NVMe storage unit, 16 GB of RAM, and the same AMD CPU and GPU.
As for the actual Autopilot hardware, it’s still based on a Samsung Exynos architecture, however, this time around it’s a bit more powerful, with the CPU core count going from 12 to 20 per side, all with a maximum frequency of 2.35 GHz and an idle speed of 1.37 GHz. In other words, there are visible improvements over the previous, Hardware 3.0 computer, but they’re not as significant as we would have hoped.
The worst part, however, is that this teardown confirms it’s impossible to retrofit the Hardware 4.0 computer on cars that have been originally fitted with Hardware 3.0 because the form factor is different.
Elon Musk said during Tesla’s Q4 Earnings Call that it would not be “economically feasible” to retrofit older cars with the new computer, but assured everybody that the company’s goal of achieving Full Self-Driving will be possible with the older hardware, too.
But with the addition of the extra cameras and the new four-dimensional radar on the updated models, we’re not so sure Tesla will be able to offer the same experience for owners of HW3- and HW4-equipped EVs.
The American marque should offer more details on this new computer and other developments at its March 1 "Investor Day."
We’d love to know what your thoughts are on this, in the comments section below.