Update Aug 21: The update below, published in May, incorrectly stated (based on a false assumption) that new Model Ss were being produced with the new hardware. That was incorrect, as the hardware was not yet rolling out at that time.
Update: A cool human has dropped screenshots of the key points in the comments. If you looked through the full schematics, the difference would be obvious, but neither of us is interested in crossing a sensitive line that doesn’t need to be crossed, so we aren’t sharing the full schematics. The key point is that these new features will into the new Model Ss at some point.
The key items of interest are right there in the title: the new Model S is set (at some point) to have a triple cam for Autopilot that supplements the camera the S has had since Tesla began its foray in autonomous driving in production cars … as well as a pedestrian noise unit*.
In other words, better Autopilot is on the way for the Model S, and Elon is likely to have some fun Easter Eggs coded into the rolling spaceship that don’t just change your touchscreen but also ring some bells (cowbell, anyone?). Well, one would hope that we’ll get some fun games like that — as long as there aren’t any laws against it, I think Elon will deliver — but the pragmatic thing here is that Tesla has worked into the design a speaker for warning passersby of the silent Ferrari-crusher in their vicinity.
Talk of updated autopilot hardware has been making the rounds on the Tesla Motors Club forum since last year, and there has long been chatter/expectation that this would occur in early to mid 2016 — I’m not sure where the early chatter originated, but it seemed to either be grounded in something real or simply a really good guess.
Many of us were expecting an announcement along with the Model 3 unveiling/birth, just as we were expecting an announcement about an updated nose on the Model S — to fall in line with the design trend of the Model X and finally fix Franz von Holzhausen’s one (public) regret about the Model S design (dat nosecone). In the end, Tesla decided to keep all of these updates separate, and I think that was for the best — focusing attention on the keystone of the Tesla Motors Secret Master Plan made the most sense. And leaving some celebrations for other days is certainly fun for us EV-obsessed Tesla fans.
Production of the new Model S sedans with the smooth nose just got rolling, so hopefully it won’t be too long till we have public confirmation of this additional update and a fun blog post or video from Tesla Motors HQ, which I hear is not too far from Aldebaran, since Elon is fond of the locale.
Image via Tesla HQ
*I’d share the schematics of the 2016 vs 2015 to demonstrate this, but given the confidential nature of such things, I’d rather not cross that line. However, the tipster may well drop them in the comments….