Tesla will build self-driving technology into all the electric cars it makes, running it in “shadow” mode to gather data on whether it is safer than having people in control.
South African-born Tesla cofounder and chief executive Elon Musk said: “Every car that Tesla produces [in future] will have full autonomy capability.”
A new onboard computer with 40 times the processing power of the previous generation would run a new neural net for vision, sonar and radar sensors, he said.
Musk referred to the hardware as “basically a super-computer in a car”, different from auto-pilot technology.
It would be up to regulators and the public as to when the self-driving capabilities would actually be put to use on roads, he said.
Meanwhile, the system would run in “shadow mode ” to gather data regarding when it might have avoided or caused accidents were it in command.
Musk hoped Tesla would one day be able to impress regulators with a statistically significant amount of data showing that autonomous driving technology would avoid crashes and save lives.
“Then [is the] point where we can allow it to take action,” Musk said of amassing data showing the system’s merits.
Upgrading existing cars with autonomous driving hard ware was not practical, Tesla said.
“It would be like giving someone a spinal cord transplant: not advisable,” Musk said.
Teslas with the first-generation Autopilot technology will lack some standard safety features like automatic braking and collision warnings.
The United States last month unveiled a sweeping new regulatory framework for the unexpectedly rapid rise of self-driving motor technology, just days after Uber broke ground with its first driverless taxis.US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the federal government would set safety standards for cars of the future with no human driving, even as some states still regulate cars with humans behind the wheel.