Tesla CEO Elon Musk has confirmed that the installation of the company’s custom Full Self-Driving Hardware 3 computer could be accomplished through its ever-expanding network of mobile service units. With this system, Tesla owners who purchased Full Self-Driving will have their vehicles upgraded in a completely effortless and convenient manner.
Elon Musk previously emphasized that HW3 is built with the same physical footprint as its predecessor, allowing for a quick and easy retrofit for vehicles that will require an upgrade. Previously, the Tesla CEO noted that the Hardware 3 installation will involve a quick trip to a service center. Musk has revised his statement in a recent tweet, stating that the company’s mobile service team should be able to handle the task without any issues.
The utilization of Tesla’s mobile service team for the upcoming Hardware 3 retrofit is a strategic move for the electric car maker. With thousands of vehicles to retrofit, conducting the upgrade in a service center will likely result in bottlenecks due to the number of vehicles that need to be upgraded. By literally sending the HW3 to owners’ homes, Tesla’s service centers can focus on tasks that are more urgent, such as vehicle repairs. This strategy also plays into the strength of Tesla’s mobile service network, as the unit continues to grow significantly by the quarter.
Musk also dropped a couple of tidbits about the company’s custom Self-Driving computer, which is already in production. According to Musk, HW3 is “at about 5% compute load or 10% with full fail-over redundancy” when handling tasks like Navigate on Autopilot with automatic lane changes. In comparison, Musk noted that HW2.5 is at about ~80% compute load when processing similar tasks.
Tesla’s Hardware 3 is specifically built to attain autonomous driving. Discussing the capability of the custom hardware in the Q3 2018 earnings call, Musk estimated that the custom computer should be able to provide the company’s electric cars with a 1,000% improvement in processing capability compared to existing NVIDIA components. Musk explained this point in his appearance at ARK Invest’s For Your Innovation podcast earlier this year.
“So right now, we can process on the order of 100 frames a second and we really need to do a lot of work in terms of cropping the frames, and sort of bending the pixels, and not going to full resolution on all cameras, that kind of thing with the current hardware. We’re at full frames, full resolution with the Tesla hardware. All cameras, at full resolution, full frames, and it still hasn’t tapped out,” Musk said.
Some of the capabilities of Hardware 3 will likely be showcased this April 22, when Tesla holds its Autonomy Investor Day. The event, which will be livestreamed, will include talks from key executives who were involved in the development of the company’s autonomous software and hardware, including CEO Elon Musk, VP of Engineering Stuart Bowers, VP of Hardware Engineering Pete Bannon, and Sr. Director of AI Andrej Karpathy. Test drives in vehicles equipped with yet-to-be-released Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features will also be offered for the event’s attendees.