tesla hardware 4

Tesla’s new self-driving computer (HW4): more cameras, radar, and more

Credit: greentheonly

New images and details surrounding Tesla’s most robust self-driving computer, or Hardware 4 (HW4), were shown today, revealing additional cameras, a reintroduction of potential radar systems, and more.

Tesla released some details about HW4 during last year’s AI Day event. Still, additional specifications were revealed today by Greentheonly, a Tesla hacker who said the computer came from a Model X vehicle. Green said that Tesla has already started building vehicles with the new computer, but they are not yet being delivered.

Right off the bat, green confirms what CEO Elon Musk said during the most recent earnings call: retrofits of HW4 into older vehicles will not be possible. While green shows the form factor of the new computer is completely different than past ones, even the most recent applications that were installed in Plaid vehicles, the new HW4 is simply not compatible.

Musk said during the Q4 Earnings Call in late January:

“But it is the cost and difficulty of retrofitting Hardware 3 with Hardware 4 is quite significant. So it would not be, I think, economically feasible to do so.”

Many of the specifics of HW4 are extremely technical, but it appears Tesla aimed to simplify the infotainment system to void a GPU daughterboard. The entire unit is smaller and sleeker, but the RAM, NVMe (nonvolatile memory express), CPU, and GPU are all identical to past units.

Green adds:

“A lot less improvement than many hoped for. Still Samsung Exynos-IP based. Bumped CPU cores from 12 to 20 (5 clusters of 4 cores each), maxing at 2.35GHz, idle at 1.37GHz Number of TRIP cores increased from 2 to 3, 2.2GHz max freq All x2 since there are two SoCs per board.”

Perhaps one of the most notable differences are there are now 12 “fully-populated camera connectors,” with one being utilized as a spare. The cameras are also labeled, and some seem to indicate that cameras will be added to the front and rear bumpers. “There’s a huge blindspot up front on legacy cars up front,” green notes.

This would make sense, considering Teslas currently utilize eight cameras, with the additional three connectors making way for the two rear and one front camera that will be added with the new hardware.

Another interesting detail found by green was Phoenix radar, which is a rumored 4-dimensional radar that will help extend current reach by double. Tesla wanted to move away from radar, opting for a completely camera-based approach, which it did with the introduction of its Vision model.

Musk said during the Q1 2021 Earnings Call:

“When your vision works, it works better than the best human because it’s like having eight cameras, it’s like having eyes in the back of your head, beside your head, and has three eyes of different focal distances looking forward. This is — and processing it at a speed that is superhuman. There’s no question in my mind that with a pure vision solution, we can make a car that is dramatically safer than the average person.”

However, radar and a radar heater were both seen in vehicle coding. The Phoenix radar appears to be a type of forward radar that will be installed in HW4 vehicles.

Perhaps more details will be shed regarding HW4 in the coming weeks, especially as Tesla’s Investor Day is approaching and will take place on March 1.

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Tesla’s new self-driving computer (HW4): more cameras, radar, and more
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