Tesla Model S Test Mule Spotted With Autopilot 2.0?


Tesla Model S Test Mule

Tesla Model S Test Mule (our thanks to Teslarati and TeslaPittsburgh for photos)

Darren Schilberg of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania spotted a peculiar Tesla Model S test mule at the Cranberry Supercharger station north of Pittsburgh. Speculation says that there are many likely reasons for the vehicle and in the way in which it is outfitted.

Schilberg is an avid Tesla fan and is a member of the group Tesla Pittsburgh Facebook (check it out here). The group is run by Matt Simmons who also developed Tesla Pittsburgh, along with a Twitter page. Matt runs the groups as well as blogging for Teslarati. Schilberg forwarded the captured images to Simmons for use on Teslarati and the other groups.

The car in question is a Model S (pre-refresh) with what appears to be a different front bumper. There is a sensor located behind the protruding mounted bumper.

On this Model S, unlike the refresh or the original, there are many extra radars and sensors. The units on the front of the vehicle are in excess and overlapping. This may be an indication of the new Autopilot 2.0 system. It is almost as if the original Model S Autopilot sensors are in place and functional, with the addition of the refreshed Model S and the Model X equipment, and Autopilot 2.0. If Tesla could install and run all of these together on one vehicle and compare data, it would be very efficient.

Aside from the awkwardly mounted, random bumper and the myriad of sensors, there are many cameras inside the vehicle. The typical Autopilot camera is present, but as seen in the photos, there are many cameras that are not consistent with any of the typical Tesla  models.

The above speculation may or may not be the case, as we have no idea what is going on with the sensors (it is fun to guess though). Perhaps this is all testing equipment set up for the second phase of the Model 3 unveiling.

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Tesla Model S Test Mule Via Teslarati

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A Closer Look At the Mounted Bumper Via Teslarati

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A Closer Look At the Mounted Bumper Via Teslarati

tesla test mule

Tesla Model S Test Mule Via Teslarati

Source: Teslarati, Tesla Pittsburgh

Categories: Tesla

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37 Comments on "Tesla Model S Test Mule Spotted With Autopilot 2.0?"

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This company is so fun to watch

Yup. 🙂

Right. Because they are pushing the technology forward, not sitting on their laurels.

To be fair, they haven’t got any laurels to sit on (except possibly in style but discomfort). As much as they have achieved, they’ve never turned a profit. So they really have little choice but to keep pushing.

It’s going to be very interesting to see how it goes. I hope they succeed but don’t really think the goals they’ve announced are possible. Maybe their incredible valuation can somehow be defended anyway..? If not, does it really matter (to anyone but investors)..?

Terawatt said:

“As much as they have achieved, they’ve never turned a profit.”

It’s truly amazing how many people confuse “Spending more on company growth than they’re earning in profits” with “Not earning any profits”. If you look at the gross profit margin, Tesla is noticeably more profitable than the average for auto makers.

Also they’ve turned a profit one quarter by the troll definition of turned a profit, shown a quarter where they put money in the bank and didn’t re-invest it or give bonuses etc


The Model S has a huge 25% profit margin. They could be profitable now if they wanted.

We’re creating “The Blob”, that will one day come for our steering wheel.

Well, it looks like the new bumper will fit on the old nose.

Are the face lifted front bumper Model S vehicles already out on the road? I saw a wrecked one on a tow truck today.

Yes they are, I’ve seen a few in California.


Tesla started delivering refreshed Model S to retail customers ‘en masse‘ around the 18th of May. US Rollout has been pretty fierce ever since, as a lot of S deliveries in America are needed to hit Q2 sales estimates.

Its a piece of the bumper. Appear to be testing penetration by the radar.

Too bad Tesla didn’t think to test the penetration of their sensors before they mounted them inside the Model X falcon-winged doors, instead of on the outside.

You don’t know they didn’t. The FWD software to control and evaluate itself and its surroundings was the issue. Future firmware updates address this.

Please cease stating your personal opinions as facts.

sven said:

“Too bad Tesla didn’t think to test the penetration of their sensors before they mounted them inside the Model X falcon-winged doors, instead of on the outside.”

sven, why do you post such obvious FUD? Do you honestly believe that anyone will swallow that bilgewater?

If you feel compelled to bash Tesla, for whatever reason, at least don’t insult our intelligence while doing so.

Sensors lose sensitivity when they must make reading through aluminum or plastic. That’s why parking sensors are not under the skin of a bumper.

It has been shown that front doors and falcon-wing doors sensors fail to detect object in their opening path and smash the door into the object. The front and falcon-winged door sensors also give false positive readings when there is no object in their opening path and refuse to open. The only logical conclusion is Tesla didn’t thoroughly test their under-skin sensors to ensure that would operate flawlessly every time with their diminished sensitivity from being under the aluminum/plastic skin.

If you had said “Tesla’s testing of the through-door sensors was inadequate”, then I wouldn’t have objected; I would have agreed.

But no, you couldn’t leave it at a fair criticism. You had to grossly exaggerate it, to turn it into FUD, by claiming Tesla didn’t even bother to test the sensors at all, either before or after installing them.

So don’t pee on our legs and then tell us it’s raining, Mr. Tesla Basher.

Henrik said:

“Its a piece of the bumper. Appear to be testing penetration by the radar.”

Hmmm, well penetration by some sort of sensor; perhaps an ultrasonic sensor. I question that it’s possible to build a radar that will penetrate a solid sheet of metal.

It looks like this Model S has a cold sore. 😀

I am glad I was the first on InsideEVs to identify Sven as an anti EV plant. He and his troll buddies have become so nauseating as to become nearly caricatures of every EV bashing, website trolling no-life that has ulterior motives for showing up here every single day. Day in and day out. We and this website would do better than to have such phonies in our midst. When the American auto companies become the “Big 3” again ( GM, Ford and Tesla ), Sven and the other anti-EV trolls can sit in their rocking chairs and stare into a dark corner grumbling and mumbling about how their snarky ways made absolutely zero difference in this great big world of ours. Makes you wonder what drives each and every one of them, doesn’t it? At the same time, I could care less. Tesla will take the place of Italian-owned FCA ( Chrysler ) and lift all the boats in the automaker harbor to a higher level of accountability and respectability. Note: Same thing happened in Seattle with naysayers of our baseball field and football stadium. Today, those same people sit in the stands and say, “I knew the Seahawks/Mariners… Read more »

It does become a bit tiresome. I think that insideevs can easily deflect criticism that they are fanboi site, by merely pointing out to all the virulent critics of Tesla that they allow to continue to post here.

Sort of like a comedian putting up with a heckler. Heck, sometimes they are even funny, but mostly they spoil the show for others.

+1000 I couldn’t have said it better James, so I thank you. I used to visit this site every morning without fail while enjoying a cup of coffee. Due to the non-stop, daily feuds and FUDsters however, I’ve stopped reading regularly. It does get very old…very fast to see the same crap shoveled by the same individuals day after day. I normally keep my mouth shut and just sift through the garbage, but Insideevs should be aware that readership will suffer from the continual negative agenda.

I seem to have noticed a slight anti-Tesla tilt in our good old buddy Sven, which I find refreshing given how much worshipping is going on here.

And I really like that insideEVs allow us to have a discussion and don’t engage in censorship to “protect” people from having to hear what others have to say – and of course simultaneously robbing others of their RIGHT to hear others opinions.

Tesla has done a lot right, and it is very exciting with such an optimistic, “naive super” approach. It’s also very risky. Model X has turned out a big mess, and Model 3 really does look like their “do or die, make or break” product. Let’s hope it goes well – but even if it does not, Tesla will have changed the car industry for the better!

Lighten up James, it was a just a joke about a hacked-together appendage on the face of a Tesla, not an indictment against EVs.

I hope all those additional sensors will be able to sense a big ass truck in front of it while in summon mode…..lol

Apparently the Model S suffers from some of the same build quality and fit & finish issues that the Model X has been plagued with. 😉

As you well know, called a test mule. And not meant to be aesthetically pleasing…

lol, good joke.

Laser blaster! I’ve always wanted one of those!!!!

Thanks Elon

Not good for road rage…are you an angry driver that vents your shortcomings on the road?

No, but I fantasize about it!

I can’t see the cameras behind the windshield but are there 2 of them for stereoscopic vision?

Looks like they’re simulating a driver POV for data collection? Interesting…

Not a Tesla mule. Spoke to someone on the AP team recently.

OK here is my theory. I don’t think its coincidental that this car was spotted in Pittsburg. Why? Pittsburg is home to Carnegie Mellon’s autonomous driving lab (was one of the top labs in the world), which was recently gutted of its talent by Uber. Uber opened up its research center pretty much across the street from the CM lab. Uber has had an interest in working with Tesla for a while, so using a model S in their research makes total sense and I think this is what was captured.

Excellent theory.

Makes much more sense geographical, than Tesla having a mule on the other side of the country.

It looks like they are trying to gather data on research sensors while the Model S drives using the stock Autopilot sensors.