Tesla Owners With Full Self-Driving Will Get Free Hardware Upgrade

Tesla Autopilot


Not quite a Tweetstorm, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter and made some welcome clarifications to the upcoming Full Self-Driving feature.

First and foremost, it looks like we may finally see Full Self-Driving hardware in all newly produced Tesla vehicles starting in about six months. To be honest, we really had no clue when this all might become a reality, but Musk has already announced an employee testing stage and now there’s more information about the hardware itself.

The new proprietary chip is coined HW3. Musk said that just with Software Version 9 there is a 400 percent increase in operations per second. The new level three hardware could take that to 500-2000 percent.

The rub here is that when Tesla first showed off its upcoming Full Self-Driving (FSD) technology, we were told that all cars were being built already equipped with all of the necessary hardware. However, while the sensors are compliant, a new Autopilot computer is needed to bring current models up to spec. The good news is that owners who have already paid for Full Self-Driving will get the upgrade for free. Those who have not can pay some $5,000 to have the switch made and get the feature, which was already disclosed long ago.

According to Teslarati, former Apple employee Pete Bannon is heading the design team for Tesla’s new proprietary FSD chip. In the midst of Tesla’s Q earnings call it was said:

It’s an incredible job by Pete and his team to create this, the world’s most advanced computer designed specifically for autonomous operation. And as a rough sort, whereas the current NVIDIA’s hardware can do 200 frames a second, this is able to do over 2,000 frames a second and with full redundancy and fail-over. It costs the same as our current hardware and we anticipate that this would have to be replaced, this replacement, which is why we made it easy to switch out the computer, and that’s all that needs to be done. All the connectors are compatible, and you get an order of magnitude, more processing and you can run all the cameras at primary full resolution with the complex neural net.

We look very forward to actually seeing this come to fruition and we hope that Tesla can hold true to the current stated timeline. Until then, we wait.

Source: Teslarati

Categories: Tesla

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28 Comments on "Tesla Owners With Full Self-Driving Will Get Free Hardware Upgrade"

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I didn’t get EAP/FSD on my car for a number of reasons. By the time FSD is working and legal, there is a good chance that I’ll be driving a newer Tesla by then.

If the aspirational timeline for this is 6 months, I wonder what the real world timeline will be. More importantly, Autopilot is currently the most feature-rich level 2 autonomy system out there, but far from the only one. If Tesla can get full self driving (estimated level 4 autonomy) out before anyone else, that could give them a significant advantage.

You can bet they will.

Because it’s a major priority.

So the fee if you already have EAP is $5k? I assume $10-11K if you do not have EAP?

It’s not $5k for the computer, that’s for full self driving which is a set of features. Also the article says all vehicles will be built with it 6 months later.

If FSD goes like the Version 9 update, the service center will take a hammer to AP1 owners Mobileye.

(Sorry, but this is going to take some time.)

Does Tesla define anywhere what they consider “Full Self Driving”? What does it cover in the accepted SAE terms?
Assuming they mean Level 4 or 5 (if it’s less, it’s not really self-driving, so the discussion is moot), does that mean Tesla is saying that cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors are sufficient?
That is, LIDAR is not required? I’d definitely like to see proof of that, since no other company working on full-autonomy currently has any system under development without LIDAR, nor do most people in the field think LIDAR can be left out in the foreseeable future.

Elon Musk is insistent that Tesla can achieve full autonomy (presumably what researchers call “Level 4 autonomy”) using only cameras and the other sensors currently found on Tesla cars, which includes low-res Doppler radar and very short-range ultrasonic scanning.

I think he’s wrong, but we will see what happens. Certainly Tesla is not currently making rapid advances in autonomy like they were 2-3 years ago.

For those interested, see detailed discussion at the InsideEVs Forum site:


“I think he’s wrong, but we will see ”

I think he’s right. Human drivers rely almost entirely on sight. There are challenges with depth perception and optical recognition but I think in time the combination of sonar and cheap cameras will be adequate sensors.

Note that it is common to say “We will see” indicative of the importance of sight. As you say we will see.

“the combination of sonar and cheap cameras ”

Lol. I meant radar not sonar. Maybe when they offer the fully amphibious models.

You were probably thinking of ultrasonic sensors, which are actually very useful for determining distance at very short range (a few cm to a few meters) at slow speeds — like parking maneuvering. Teslas also have those, and AFAIK radar and cameras can’t really replace them (not an issue because they’re quite cheap).

I know he insists on this, but noone else agrees… And Musk isn’t working on this 24/7 himself. He’s not a practitioner in the field.

Every car is full self driving, the only question is, how many km it will last until it crashes. 1m, 1km, 1000.000km? There cannot be a strict definition. I think the unit of measurement should be mean distance between failure for class 4/5. Of course with additional sensors like LIDAR you can minimize that number quite a lot. By simply saying class 5 or “full self driving” you blur the capabilities of the system.

Elon’s math is rarely including minor percentages. He’s talking in magnitudes, factors and tenfolds. He has previously said estimates referring to insurance companies and their future interests in FSD cars. The goal is to reduce accidents from X of Y, to N of M (sorry, dont remember the numbers)

As expected, processing hardware get deprecated very fast. Sensors/cameras might last a bit longer but in time it will happen the same – much better ones will make everything easier and cheaper.
Paying $5000 in advance will give Tesla plenty of space to replace the hardware. Obviously for many, the cars will be gone before they’ll see the upgrade day.

So, the original claims that they were hardware ready were kind of BS? I knew it! =)

Who says that we won’t be needing HW4 before the FSD is available?

Did you not bother to read the article? It was pretty clear from the start that Tesla may need to upgrade the computer (the PX2 board Tesla used was pretty much immediately obsoleted by the time it was used, with Nvidia having introduced Xavier shortly before). Elon mentioned the possibility multiple times in various discussions in early 2017.

This had been analyzed to death and once again when the HW2.5 started to come out. People who have opened up their dash have shown it is fairly trivial to swap (all plug and play) and Tesla obviously had planned for the possibility.

If you bought back in 2016, you are getting a free upgrade to the most modern processing hardware today, so I don’t think those buyers got the short end of the stick.

For customers who bought at Tesla car with the FSD option, but wind up not keeping the car long enough for FSD to be released, will Tesla refund the price they paid for that FSD option?

Of course not. So certainly some buyers have gotten or will get the short end of the stick, even if not all of them have.

I’m a strong Tesla fan, but that doesn’t prevent me from seeing that this was, and is, unquestionably a case of Tesla getting out over its skis.

“ So certainly some buyers have gotten or will get the short end of the stick, ”

….I don’t think that is entirely so as long as the upgrade rights transfer with the car. The seller receives the present value of the future upgrade.

i guess it will transfer, but not the $4,000,- promise to current AP2 owners

The issue isn’t whether rights transfer when the rights are resold. It’s how likely that the car is still on the road when Level 5 is finally available.
IMO, there’s zero chance there will be any legal jurisdiction in a developed country on the planet will allow it (not including limited testing) anytime in the next 25 years. None of the cars being sold these days are relevant.
No one understands well the challenges required to solve the general case of Level 5, including bad visibility, snow etc. Noone has started tsignificant esting in adverse conditions, not just California & Arizona.

There are no established metrics exist to determine what constitutes “good” behavior (in my country, attempting to drive purely legally will get you in a serious accident in less than an hour.)
Level 5 is a very hard AI problem. There’s no reason to think it’ll take less than decades ot solve (and I say that as a former researcher in AI problems, not traffic related).

In that sense, I consider selling FSD now to be absolutely sleazy behavior by Tesla.

i bought a S75d AP2 last summer. Previously had a S85 AP1.

Bought EAP on the AP2, but not FSD. i asumed when buying the car, that IF the FSD was released within my ownership i could rally the money, since the car was already more then expensive enough for my economy.

If a car-buyer just blindly X’s of everything on the webshop, then i guess the least of their worries is the $4-5k for that FSD option.
And it will also transfer to next owner, so if i sell my car now, compared to an FSD it will be:
S75d AP2 EAP (you can upgrade to FSD for $5k), compared to the other dudes:
S75d AP2 FSD (soon to come HW3 upgrade included in sales price)

This is a very transparent cost, that is easy to calculate since it’s still upgradeable on EAP cars then the FSD cars will sell for around $5k higher price.

That’s a different issue, being how long before FSD is ready and how long before regulations even allow it to operate without a driver. Tesla never promised a time table for that.

In this case, I’m talking solely about the issue of upgrading the hardware. As others point out, even if you sold the car, the extra value of the hardware is still there (presuming the offer transfers with the vehicle).

It’s it really “free” if you already had to pay $8000 for autopilot + FSD?

Well of course not. “Free” is probably the most mis-used and abused word in advertising. If you have to pay to get something, then it’s not free even if some company claims it is.

I was pretty sure this was coming when Elon bragged about Tesla’s new Autopilot firmware chip being “drop-in”. Why else would it be important for the chip to be easily dropped in, unless Tesla was planning to upgrade the chip in cars it’s already sold with the (rather optimistic) “Full Self Driving” option?

But I still say full self-driving tech, what developers call “Level 4” or “Level 5” autonomy, is going to require active scanners onboard; scanners such as lidar, phased-array radar, or both. And they will need to scan in all directions, not just front-facing.

What will you do if next gen Tesla’s arrive with “drop-in” sensors? Don’t buy it because you are sure that a newer model is around the corner? Or praise the geniouses at Tesla for making “swappable” chip and sensor kit’s ?

i don’t know enough about Level 4/5 autonomy requirements. But i do live in western Norway with crappy roads, snow and loads of heavy rain so stress-testing the future autonomy levels shouldnt be a problem. I’ll keep you posted in the future 😉 . As for the current Level, im not removing my hands from the wheel, except an inch on familiar roads for demonstration purposes to potential Tesla customers 😉

I think for now, car manufacturers should really think about perfecting the safety features of their self-driving cars products before selling them to public. I could read quite many accidents with these cars involved in these past few years. I also read an article that discusses about this topic at https://www.lemberglaw.com/self-driving-autonomous-car-accident-injury-lawyers-attorneys/. I personally won’t risk my family to ride inside of them unless the safety features have been 99% perfect.