Tesla Autopilot 2.0 On Model S Test Mule?

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It’s a certainty that Tesla is currently working on an upgraded “2.0” version of its Autopilot hardware suite — which is reportedly being developed with the intent of supporting fully autonomous driving.

While there’s much speculation on the subject, not much solid info has been revealed about what exactly the company is working on. Images recently surfaced, though, showing a Model S test mule outfitted with a great deal of extra sensors and cameras — presumably a test version of Autopilot hardware suite 2.0?

Tesla Model S Autopilot 2.0

As seen in the image above, that is quite a substantial amount of extra gear…. What else could it be if not Autopilot hardware suite 2.0?

Teslarati provides more:

This sighting of what appears to be a test mule in Pennsylvania won’t help those still on the fence. Spotted by Darren Schilberg at the Cranberry Supercharger north of Pittsburgh, the two-toned Model S appears to be a platform for the next generation Autopilot 2.0. The underlying car is a pre-refresh Model S, as distinguished by its plastic rocker panels and headlights. The new Model S fascia has been substituted on the nose, but with concessions to the older car’s Autopilot sensors by way of cut-outs in the bumper.

…On the refreshed Model S, the forward facing radar is internal to the fascia, but here again the radar of the older test car is clearly visible still lurking in the lower air intake area. The presence of so many sensors– seemingly overlapping– on the front of this Model S suggests Tesla could be trying to accelerate their development time on Autopilot 2.0. The original Autopilot system is clearly present and wired in (the cabling for the radar is visible and there are holes for the ultrasonic sensors in the fascia).

The refreshed Model S fascia wasn’t put on for fun as the non-matching paint is hardly stealthy. It seems likely the refresh’s sensor suite is still perched behind the updated fascia– and perhaps even replaced with a new sensor suite to test its compatibility with the new S fascia. The elevated chunk of fascia appears to be at the right ride height for a Model X… which then raises the bar significantly.

Could it be that Tesla’s engineers are able to run the “legacy” Autopilot, current Model S and X Autopilot and also be testing Autopilot 2.0 sensors concurrently?

Tesla autopilot hardware suite 2.0 mule

An interesting thought. Testing multiple iterations at the same time could allow for some interesting comparative analysis.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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2 thoughts on “Tesla Autopilot 2.0 On Model S Test Mule?

  • What is interesting is that they have mounted some sensors on the front and then in front of those sensors they have a small peace of the front. So whatever sensors they are, they are designed to be behind the front without any holes etc.

  • It looks like they might be testing the same radar device with, and without, a body panel piece in front of it, maybe to see how the signals differ through the material.

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