Musk mentioned that that the Autopilot rewrite is going well, and almost everything in the autopilot code needed to be rewritten.
This rewrite will allow Autopilot to see and interpret data in real-time 3D, much like a human, rather than seeing everything as a picture in time, the CEO said.
He goes on to mention that the fruits of this labor will be seen in two to four months, when the software is ready for release and safety-tested before rolling out to the general public.
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One highly requested feature that Musk said will come with this rewrite is the company’s “reverse summon,” where the car can drop its driver off at the door of their destination and then drive through a parking lot on its own to find a parking spot.
When the driver is ready, they can then summon the car using the Tesla app on a mobile phone.
The cars come with a feature called “smart summon,” where the car is able to come pick a driver up anywhere in a parking lot within approximately 200 feet of the car.
Why It’s Important: Autopilot software rewrites are nothing new for the Tesla team. Back in March, 2018, Teslarati noted that owners were happy with a rewrite done at the time, claiming large imporvements in handling and lane keeping.
Since that time, Tesla has developed its own processing hardware in-house, giving it much more data processing power. Tesla has also delivered close to 1 million cars, giving them many more cars on the road and data points as owners drive around and send Autopilot data back to Tesla.
Benzinga’s Take: If Tesla wants to reach true Level 5 Autonomy, a rewrite is needed.
While the tech delivered in the cars today is impressive, it is far from driving without human supervision. Owners still regularly complain of phantom braking, where the car applies the brakes for no reason or a non-existant obstacle.
The smart summon feature was also a bit of a disappointment for owners. While proven safe, it is incredibly slow and still can still get confused in the simplest of scenarios.
If Tesla can get lidar-like performance out of a camera-only setup with this rewrite, Autopilot doubters will be in for a big surprise.
Photo courtesy of Tesla.