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Theory: Autopilot hardware upgradeability likely now a priority?

Discussion in 'Model S' started by JoshG, Jul 13, 2016.

  1. JoshG

    JoshG Member

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    What do you think of this theory?

    Given the issues around autopilot, when Tesla DOES release its next generation of Autopilot hardware, it will almost certainly want to provide an attractive upgrade path to owners of older AP hardware. In fact, the more starkly different and more capable the hardware is in v2, the more likely Tesla will want to make upgrades doable. It is too risky and dangerous to have multiple levels of AP "intelligence" out there... owners will be confused what theirs is capable of versus what the neighbors (or YouTubers) are showing theirs can do. The risk of messaging things wrong by a sales person or blogger or fellow owner is too high, so Tesla will want to offer upgrades at an attractive price to remove older generations of AP from the roads if possible.

    This isn't like the switchover from non-folding mirrors to folding ones, or the introduction of parking sensors. Someone with AP1 that thinks they can do what they saw an AP2 car do will get into real trouble.

    Smart people there at Tesla, so maybe the whole windshield modules and behind-bumper modules already are designed so they can add in more and different sensors.

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. commasign

    commasign Active Member

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    Agree, it would be extremely confusing if Tesla had different generations of autopilot with different levels of autonomy on the roads at the same time. Assuming autopilot 2.0 is just an incremental upgrade (not full autonomous), essentially the same functionality as now but with improved reliability, it might just be the rumored camera system upgrade (New Tesla Model S Has 2nd Triple Cam For Autopilot & Pedestrian Noise Unit). I think it would be fairly easy to swap out the current single camera system for the triple camera system since the logic board is apparently in the same housing as the camera itself. I don't think there would be an easy way to upgrade current Model S to a 7 camera system (plus whatever extra radar systems) needed for full autonomy though. Maybe that will be autopilot 3.0 or 4.0.
     
  3. brkaus

    brkaus Member

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    Doubt it... If that was the case they would announce it to keep cars selling fast and eliminate Osborne-effect type rumors.
     
  4. sandpiper

    sandpiper Active Member

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    Not to rain on your parade (and mine, since I also have an AP 1.0 car), but I seriously doubt that the AP system will be upgradeable. The costs to do this would be prohibitive. And it would tie-up a lot of resources in the service center. Beyond just the actual AP hardware, the sensors and so-on, the main computer systems are in need of a generation bump. I'm pretty sure that Tesla will take AP 2.0 as an opportunity to do a full electronic systems refresh.

    For Tesla to allow upgrading of the AP, they would be significantly increasing the number of combinations of hardware that have to be supported / maintained / debugged. In hardware/software systems, the number of bugs increase with the square of the number of types of hardware in play. That may be practical when you're producing a few thousand boutique cars per year but it's asking for a lot of trouble when you're producing in large volumes.

    I think Tesla will continue to support the AP1.0 cars with software upgrades for many years. But a hardware upgrade is almost certainly not in the cards.
     
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  5. sillydriver

    sillydriver Member

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    @JoshG & @commasign, I somewhat agree with both of you. However if Tesla really wanted to get 1.0 hardware off the road to avoid supporting both versions they would need to make the retrofit free, almost in the form of a recall. That seems like a tall order on cost and also too much of an admission that the first version was flawed. Separately, if 2.0 just added a triple camera in the front, this wouldn't address the problem of cars overtaking in the blind spot, so that lane change - a fairly simple operation - could still not be done without the driver intervening to check whether it was safe. I guess the wide angle lens for a triple camera might allow automated handling of intersections, particularly if going straight, but by itself it wouldn't have prevented the recent fatal truck accident since I'm sure the truck was in the field of view of Tesla's current single camera. Prevention of that would require algorithms and processing that recognize objects moving crosswise.
     
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  6. sandpiper

    sandpiper Active Member

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    This whole global conversation about Tesla's autopilot being "flawed" is beyond bizarre. We have a brand new system that, based on early statistics, does as well or better than a human - and we're considering it flawed? If you told me 5 years ago that a car company would be putting out a system that can do what AP1.0 can do, I would have told you that you were nuts. The Tesla system is wildly successful.

    Yes, a few people are doing stupid things. But, unfortunately, that's what people do - autopilot or not. People have have done pretty much every imaginable stupid thing behind the wheel and have sometimes have died because of it.
     
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  7. electracity

    electracity Active Member

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    If Tesla had called the system "lane keeping" they would not be in this situation. It is reasonable that people believe a system called autopilot would see all vehicles and pedestrians.

    But I think that even the negative press is a net win for Tesla.
     
  8. RogerHScott

    RogerHScott Active Member

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    #8 RogerHScott, Jul 13, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2016
    I agree with @sillydriver that the only way for Tesla to avoid the problem supposed by the OP would be to effectively force all AP1.0
    owners to upgrade, and I can't see that happening. Believe me, I'd like to hear a compelling argument as to why there'll be an AP
    hardware upgrade path, but I have yet to.

    What possible motivation would they have for doing so? If your choice is to spend development resources on improvements targeted
    at obsolete hardware that generates zero revenue, or on improvements targeted at current hardware that's in every single car you sell
    for revenue
    , which would you choose? I fear when the AP2.0 hardware comes out we're going to discover the much-less-dazzling reality
    of perpetual OtA software upgrades, as opposed to the current "golden era".

    Calling them "statistics" (strongly) overstates the case. What we have now is nothing more than anecdotal.

    As cool as it is, AP1.0 is not ready for prime-time. If it is effectively a dead-end then it will remain something only really suitable for
    "advanced" users.
     
  9. 182RG

    182RG Free The Service Manuals From Tyranny

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    If they want it off the road, sunset AP version 1.0 like they do in the IT hardware / software world. Stop updating it, and turn it off at an announced point allowing people to buy new cars with 2.0.

    Tesla wants to treat their vehicles more like technology, this is how the technology world handles it. Planned obsolesence.

    I'm more and more inclined to lease my first Tesla for this reason, and I've never leased a car in my life. I just don't think buying one make sense for this reason. There is no way that upgrading hardware in a car on this scale is going to be economically viable.
     
  10. Sir Guacamolaf

    Sir Guacamolaf The good kind of fat

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    Tesla will provide AP2.0 free to AP1.0 consumers.

    <-- If you are making burgers in your dreams, might as well add an extra cheese slice!
     
  11. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    Only time will tell, but it seems to me like the op's post is a classic case of cognitive dissonance. As someone who just missed out on AP 1.0, I can see how it would be psychologically uncomfortable to imagine that AP 2.0 will come out and those with AP 1.0 will miss out on all the additional functions that the new hardware will provide for. As a result, the mind strives to make this less psychologically disturbing and looks for ways to make it less stressful, such as the reasoning provided. Hopefully, it will be upgradable, but if not, just enjoy what you got. I sure do. Although every once in awhile I do have to tell my mind to tone it down, especially when it first came out. Life's just far too short to sweat the small stuff.
     
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  12. sandpiper

    sandpiper Active Member

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    #12 sandpiper, Jul 13, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2016
    Sortof. In fact the Tesla AP behaves very similarly to that way that an aircraft AP behaves. An aircraft AP does not autonomously fly the plane. They vary in capabilities. The simplest do nothing more than keep the wings level. Some fly straight in one direction and hold altitude. Some will fly a pre-programmed path. And only the most sophisticated will take-off or land.

    But all of them demand attentiveness from the pilot. They do not avoid mountains, see and avoid other aircraft or avoid bad weather. And in all cases the pilot talks to ATC and determines what he wants the AP to do. And in ALL cases, pilots are taught not to trust the AP, and must be prepared to take over instantly.

    The problem is that the general public imagines that autopilot means autonomous. It doesn't. And people will eventually figure that out.
     
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  13. EVie'sDad

    EVie'sDad Member

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    #13 EVie'sDad, Jul 13, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2016
    not likely, it is expressly stated when you purchase your Tesla that the technology inside is sold 'as-is', only software updates for the most part. Of course, for a price I am sure Tesla would be more than happy to upgrade your vehicle to 2.0 or outright sell you a newer model with the tech already installed, but either way won't be cheap.
     
  14. sandpiper

    sandpiper Active Member

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    For the same reason that my PC gets regular security and very mild feature updates on Windows 7. It's part of the deal when you buy it. I do believe that, once 2.0 is out, the 1.0 feature set will be frozen. But you'll get regular support updates for a long time.

    130 million miles is enough to call them early statistics. I think it's enough to tell us that performance is likely similar to that of a human. That's pretty impressive in my books.

    And I disagree about the "prime time". I've been using it for a year or so now. It doesn't take long to figure out what it can/can't do. And #1 is don't ever trust it with your life. Be prepared to take over at ANY time. And don't do stupid things.

    A car is a big complex and dangerous machine. If people are smart enough to be trusted to drive the these things, then surely they can be trusted with something rather more trivial like the AP.
     
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  15. commasign

    commasign Active Member

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    Well, actually the main computer (for the camera portion of the system at least) is in the camera mount along with a massive heatsink. So if autopilot 2.0 is just the upgrade to the triple camera system, it would actually be an easy retrofit.
     
  16. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    Even if it's easy, it took me nearly 2 months to get an appt for my monthly service and from what I've read here that's not unusual for many locations. I just can't see how they could handle the extra demand of retrofits.
     
  17. RogerHScott

    RogerHScott Active Member

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    That's what I meant -- bug fixes only, basically.

    The problem is Tesla hasn't revealed what the distribution of those 130M miles is, so it is impossible to compare it to 130M miles of
    human operation since we don't know what kind of driving to compare it to, and different kinds of driving having radically different
    risk and safety profiles
    .

    You don't find that AP does alarming things on a regular, if infrequent, basis? Sure, with sufficient driver attention it needn't be
    unsafe, but that's a mighty low bar -- and not what I would call "ready for prime time".
     
  18. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    I think you think that because you own an Autopilot v1.0 vehicle for which you paid a lot of money and you don't want to be left behind with the technology. Unfortunately, what you are hoping for will likely not happen. Tesla is not interested in protecting your investment, they are interested in selling cars. The more they can push you to trade-in, the more money they will make at the end of the day.

    Don't hold your breath, there will be no Autopilot retrofits.
     
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  19. aesculus

    aesculus Still Trying to Figure this All Out

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    Sure for a phone or a throw away PC that may make sense. But a car that costs > $100,000, no so much.
     
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  20. supratachophobia

    supratachophobia Active Member

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    I think it's already a priority. For example, the current camera is a single camera setup. But the next gen camera actually has three cameras. Now, that module is going in the exact same place and outputting the *exact* same information to the car (stop here, turn here, etc.). I would be surprised if there wasn't some type of upgrade path to go from gen1 to gen2. All the AP processing is done on the MobileEye hardware itself, seperate from the MCU and ICU of the car, to my understanding.

    The tricky part gets into things like, hardware in the mirrors which is a popular location if you pay attention to the spy photos. Either LIDAR or additional cameras are being tested there. So the question is, does the current wiring harness allow for interfacing to other AP hardware if the addition of a module is possible.

    I think we forget that the next gen MobileEye has already been defined from a hardware perspective. And if Tesla was interested in AP upgradability, then they already know where to run things and where to put connectors.
     

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