Huge Tesla Autopilot Update Coming In 6–10 Weeks (To Early Access Owners)

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One of the biggest updates in the history of Tesla Autopilot is supposed to be coming in 6–10 weeks to “Early Access” Tesla owners — these are owners who by hook or by crook got into a public beta testing group for Tesla firmware updates.

I previously covered most of what we know about the coming update in this August 16 article: “10 Tesla Autopilot, Full Self Driving, & Dojo Development Updates From Elon Musk.” We do have a few small updates on the software improvement, though. In a tweet earlier today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk noted that the coming update will be the result of “dramatically better ‘4D’ (aka simultaneous surround video from 8 cameras) architecture.” This will dramatically improve your car’s ability to spot and track other cars, people, bicyclists, traffic cones, birds, cats, squirrels, and semi trucks. Well, Tesla’s chief engineer hasn’t mentioned any types of animals in talking and tweeting about this update, but I assume the above to be true.

A commenter who frequently gets responses from Musk on technical matters, Pranay Pathole, added: “Also having so much video data of simultaneous 8 cameras can help with the Dojo training. Similar to the GPT-3 training, now as GPT-3 is able to predict the next word for any input sequence with amazing results, Dojo will be the same for Autopilot driving policy …” Musk agreed, tweeting, “Yes. Good insight.”

Regarding the timing of the firmware update, a Brandon Bernicky asked, “How’s the rewrite coming?” That’s what prompted Musk to provide an update on … the update. “Releasing private beta in 2 to 4 weeks, public beta (early access owners who opt in) 4 to 6 weeks after that, then all US Tesla owners mid December,” Musk tweeted. “Above schedule is contingent upon not encountering major unexpected setbacks.”

Interestingly, in the August 16 article I mentioned above, it seems like Musk gave the same timeframe (but a month earlier). “The FSD improvement will come as a quantum leap, because it’s a fundamental architectural rewrite, not an incremental tweak. I drive the bleeding edge alpha build in my car personally. Almost at zero interventions between home & work. Limited public release in 6 to 10 weeks.” (emphasis added) Doing the simple math regarding Musk’s tweet earlier today, as I wrote in the title, we can now expect 6–10 weeks for limited public release for Early Access owners. Naturally, this is a massive software update that has to function at pretty much the highest safety level, so a 4 week delay is not that surprising.

Is the software rewrite really going to come to Early Access program members in approximately 2 months? Will I get this software update in mid-December? One can dream! Just being 2–4 weeks away from the private beta does imply to me that it’s extremely close to being ready.

I drive on Autopilot probably ~70% of the time. I mostly kick the car out of Autopilot due to potholes, bumps in the road, or to make a turn. If the rewrite will indeed help the car to safely avoid potholes, as Musk previously indicated it would, I could see my Autopilot usage jump to ~90%! We’ll see.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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