The electric automaker Tesla has stated in a press release wants to show off the progress it has made on autonomous driving software and hardware at an Autonomy Investor Day later this month.
The company has invited investors to visit Tesla HQ in Palo Alto on April 19, to “deep dive into our self-driving technology”.
In the upcoming event Tesla plans to include test drives for investors. The company said in its announcement, “Tesla is making significant progress in the development of its autonomous driving software and hardware, including our FSD computer, which is currently in production and which will enable full-self driving via future over-the-air software updates.”
Prominent in the press release was Tesla’s latest update-a full self-driving (FSD) computer “currently in production.” The new computer “will enable full self-driving via future over-the-air software updates.”
In a series of tweets late last month, Musk said that the company’s new FSD computer would be a free retrofit for anyone who paid for the full self-driving package when they bought their Tesla. “No change to vehicle sensors or wire harness needed”.
It was about two and a half years ago when the automaker started including sensors that the company said would eventually enable autonomous driving in every vehicle it shipped. Tesla had also planned to demonstrate one of its vehicles driving across the entire country autonomously by the end of 2017. It missed this date, with no update on when this drive will happen.
Apart from the demonstration on April 19, a discussion will also be held with Elon Musk, vice president for engineering Stuart Bowers, vice president for hardware engineering Pete Bannon, and the company’s artificial intelligence chief Andrej Karpathy.
The event will be webcast, Tesla says.
Full self-driving is a sensitive subject for Tesla. Musk’s comments around the visual-based system have been criticized by experts in the field as “almost unethical,” and reckless since the technology is quite new.
Interestingly test drives will be given to investors in the event, and the vehicles that would be used will be equipped with features and functionalities that are still in development. This means that some of Autopilot and Full Self-Driving’s never-before-seen features will likely make a debut on the event.
Tesla has already been selling the promise of fully autonomous driving as an option for some time now. The “Full Self-Driving Capability” is a $5,000 addition on top of the $3,000 Autopilot option. It currently includes Navigate on Autopilot, which promises on-ramp to off-ramp driving on highways, Autopark, and Summon.
Tesla says, it will include the abilities to recognize and respond to traffic lights and stop signs and do automatic driving on city streets soon.
Just how close to Level 4 and Level 5 self-driving Tesla’s current system is able to get is an ongoing controversy in the car and autonomous research industries. This investor demo day is likely to tackle that, along with other questions around Autopilot safety and the evolution of the system, in-depth.