At some point in the near future, Tesla would be rolling out features for the company’s Full Self-Driving suite. Elon Musk’s vision for Full Self-Driving is ambitious, involving vehicles being able to travel without human input across multiple states, as well as a network of autonomous electric cars being used for ridesharing.
Tesla is still at a point where it is refining the features and capabilities of Autopilot, its driver-assist system. Autopilot has become more advanced over the years, becoming more intelligent and safer thanks to Tesla’s AI-based system and the company’s continuously-learning deep neural networks. Software Version 9, Tesla’s most recent update, includes several improvements to the driver-assist system, though Elon Musk recently noted that Navigate on Autopilot — a feature available to advanced early access users — would not be included in the V9 update’s initial release.
Elon Musk noted earlier this year that the first features of its Full Self-Driving suite would be introduced with Software Version 9. With this in mind, it appears safe to assume that with the V9 update, Elon Musk’s vision of a self-driving fleet will be one step closer to reality.
Tesla enthusiast and filmmaker Troy Nikolic is a believer of Elon Musk’s vision. The filmmaker notes that Full Self-Driving would likely open new horizons for many individuals, including those who are unable to operate vehicles on their own today due to the limitations of current technology. The Tesla enthusiast believes that Full Self-Driving has a lot of potential — and it is this potential that became the inspiration for a passion project that eventually turned into a short film.
Nikolic’s short explores how Tesla’s future Full Self-Driving technologies could make people with debilitating conditions be more mobile. Ultimately, the filmmaker’s spec also invokes the idea that autonomous driving technologies, once refined and mastered, are not frightening nor dangerous, but instead safe and welcoming.
It would still take a while before the future glimpsed in the filmmaker’s short becomes a reality. That said, Tesla is already taking steps towards autonomy. In Tesla’s Q2 earnings call, Elon Musk discussed some details of the company’s own hardware that is designed specifically for self-driving. The development of Tesla’s homegrown hardware — dubbed Hardware 3 — is led by Pete Bannon, an alumnus of Apple who helped develop the tech giant’s first ARM 32-bit processor that went into the iPhone 5, as well as the first ARM 64-bit processor in the world that went into the iPhone 5S. Bannon notes that his team designed the neural network accelerator that will be part of Hardware 3, as well as Tesla’s AI chip. Musk, for his part, is optimistic about Tesla’s upcoming hardware.
“It’s an incredible job by Pete and his team to create this, the world’s most advanced computer designed specifically for autonomous operation. And as a rough sort, whereas the current NVIDIA’s hardware can do 200 frames a second, this is able to do over 2,000 frames a second and with full redundancy and fail-over. So, it’s an amazing design, and we’re going to be looking to increase the size of our chip team and our investment in that as quickly as possible,” he said.
Watch Troy Nikolic’s Tesla short film in the video below.