Electric carmaker Tesla says all cars it now builds will have hardware needed to drive completely on their own.
Tesla has announced that it will only produce vehicles in the future that are fully capable of self-driving, although despite cameras, sensors and radars being introduced, it is still expected to be years before the vehicles become fully self-driving.
Tesla introduced its Autopilot system last year allowing some self-drive functions such as auto-braking, however it is now temporarily disabling the feature to allow “robust” testing with the new systems.
Founder of Tesla, Elon Musk described its hardware as “basically a super-computer in a car”, but added it would be up to regulators and the public to decide when self-driving vehicles could actually be used on the roads.
For now, the hardware will run in “shadow mode”, gathering information on when the technology may have caused or avoided accidents had it been in command of the vehicle.
Mr Musk said that in the future he hopes he can show regulators significant data which demonstrated that self-driving technology was safer than having humans behind the wheel.
Model S and Model X vehicles with this new hardware are already in production.
In Tesla’s last set of financial results, the firm said it had missed production targets, with sales below expectations and it reported its thirteenth consecutive quarterly loss.
In April, Tesla unveiled plans for its Model 3 vehicle, its cheapest vehicle to date, due for release next year. It has been reported that so far 400,000 have been pre-ordered. That vehicle will now also include the new hardware.
The firm faces competition from other similarly priced electric cars that will become available first, including General Motors’ Chevy Bolt and BYD’s Qin EV300.
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