Play video games while you drive with the power of Tesla, the electric car that will be able to take over for you when its software is fully developed. This article will go over how it works and why this is a big deal.
The driving experience of the future might make our present highway roads seem like something from Jurassic Park. Tesla’s new autopilot mode, which was unveiled last month by Elon Musk in Palo Alto, California, has been getting plenty of hype ever since then. It’s a system that can provide more freedom than we’ve ever seen — it’s just a shame that it doesn’t come standard on all Tesla cars.
How does the car autopilot mode works?
In Tesla’s autopilot mode for its cars, its vehicles will be able to drive themselves with the low-level help of a person behind the wheel. The driver will not be required to do anything, except monitor it and take advantage of some simple features like hands-free phone calls or streaming music. This isn’t particularly new — Tesla is just adding in extra features that elaborate on what it already had — but the innovation is seriously exciting.
The technology that this relies on is, of course, computer vision: a system that can tell what a car sees instead of relying on one person’s (the driver’s) interpretation. It essentially takes over where the human body should be (if we had enough sensors).
The autopilot mode will be able to take on the job of staying in its lane of traffic, parking itself in a suitable spot, and even parallel parking. This is made possible by a system that scans for obstacles around it to keep itself from crashing. Without any hands on the wheel, how does it do this?
Tesla vehicles use a set of sensors that include a forward-looking camera, radar and ultrasonic sensors. This technology allows the car to create an image and compare it with one taken a split second before. It can see whether anything has changed between the two and therefore whether you should slow down or let off the gas pedal.
How does the gaming feature of the car works?
Tesla cars will also have 12 ultrasonic sensors that will be able to detect how close the vehicle is to other cars when parking. These will work in parallel with the forward-looking camera. The radar that Tesla vehicles use will be able to create a picture of what’s around them, and then compare it with a real-time view of what is actually there.
The autopilot mode is still in its infancy — as many of its features are experimental — but you can already see how amazing this tech could be for us in the future. Imagine saying goodbye to bad drivers, wasted time stuck in traffic and all of those terrible experiences due to distracted driving.
The autopilot system will only be able to provide you with the features it has right now, and that’s pretty limited. It’s not even advanced enough for Tesla to have presented the first-ever full-car autopilot demonstration at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. And even though this is still just a demo, we’re pretty much sure that it’ll take a lot more work before they come anywhere close to making this a reality.
Musk said that the autopilot mode was “probably three or four years away from being something that’s really going to be useful.” But, even though it’s still not close to ready, there are benefits to this new technology. Musk also pointed out that the updated autopilot system will be able to take control of braking in slow-moving traffic and keep a safe distance from the vehicles around it. He described these features as “pretty important.”
Does it give of much energy for the production?
In terms of how much energy Tesla’s autopilot mode uses, well, it depends on whether you’re using it or not. When you’re not using autopilot, your vehicle’s energy consumption will increase on average by about 30 percent — depending on weather and road conditions. So it won’t be the most efficient way to get yourself around, but it’s certainly better than a human driver.
The best part is that all of this is supported by Tesla’s computers that are responsible for processing all the data, so it can be done anywhere in the world at any time. This means that software updates will come more often — so maybe you’ll be able to make use of the autopilot sooner than you thought. Then again, given how long it took for Tesla to implement this mode, we can’t really blame you for being skeptical. The autopilot system is not meant to replace human drivers completely, but it’s likely that it will be a major contributor in the future.
The Autopilot mode for Tesla vehicles is currently only available in its Falcon Wing doors . It’s also partially disabled at the request of drivers — a switch on the dashboard can be activated if you’d rather avoid it. Tesla has promised to make it fully functional by 2014.
However, that’s not the only video games-inspired driverless system available for Tesla.
In addition to the autopilot mode, Tesla’s cars also come with a Drive Mode that is pretty similar to Mario Kart’s semi-autonomous driving feature. It is also limited in what it can do and requires the driver to be present on the controls at all times. The Drive Mode uses a camera and radar sensors as well as ultrasonic sensors — all of which are helpful in keeping you safe behind the wheel — and can provide you with directions, stop signs, traffic lights and traffic jams.