Tesla has announced that all its future electric vehicles will be equipped with the company’s new-generation full self-driving hardware (dubbed Autopilot 2.0), a move that reinforces its intent to introduce fully autonomous cars to the market.

The company claims the new tech will enable a Tesla “to be substantially safer than a human driver, lower the financial cost of transportation for those who own a car and provide low-cost on-demand mobility for those who do not.”

According to a statement on the company’s website, the Model S, Model X, and upcoming Model 3, will have the hardware needed for full self-driving capability. This includes eight surround cameras (three front-facing) providing 360 degree visibility around the car at up to 250 meters of range.

Supplementing the car’s “vision” are twelve updated ultrasonic sensors, allowing for detection of both hard and soft objects at nearly twice the distance of the previous system. A forward-facing radar with enhanced software provides additional data about the world on a redundant wavelength, capable of seeing through heavy rain, fog, dust and even the car ahead.


An Nvidia GPU Titan supercomputer handles the processing of all the data from the sensors, with more than 40 times the computing power of the previous generation system. Tesla says this system “provides a view of the world that a driver alone cannot access, seeing in every direction simultaneously and on wavelengths that go far beyond the human senses.”

However, the new tech does come with a catch, as the hardware suite will temporarily not offer Autopilot capabilities (including some standard safety features such as automatic emergency braking, collision warning, lane holding, and active cruise control) as those found with the previous hardware.

This is because the company wants to further calibrate the system using “millions of miles of real-world driving” to ensure significant improvements of safety. Once these features are validated, cars with the new hardware will receive over-the-air software updates that will unlock them for use.

Current Teslas with the previous-gen system will still receive parallel updates but will not be able to match the abilities of the cars made from today. The new hardware is expected to provide Teslas with greater levels of autonomy than before, which by the end of next year, could see Teslas offer up to Level 5 autonomy (following the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s guidelines).