How Does Tesla’s Autopilot Mode Work?

Coldfusion made a really detailed explanation of the four pillars of Tesla’s autonomous driving system, and its implications in transportation safety and the technology sector.

Tesla’s Autopilot mode can do almost anything, including lane maintenance, cruise control, emergency braking, automatic parallel parking, and it will even park itself without the driver inside. Further, you can summon the car to you if you are on private property.

Part of how Tesla cars learn is almost like science fiction. Somewhat like herd mentality, each Tesla is learning from its own driver, and sharing that knowledge with every other Tesla on the network, so the vehicles are constantly improving as more drivers log miles. Musk says Model S drivers add about 1 million miles of data every day.

The fundamental hardware of Tesla Autopilot is based on the four pillars for autonomous driving. Firstly, Teslas have a long distance radar system that can see through virtually anything. Second, is image recognition software that can decipher objects surrounding the car. Third are the ultrasonic proximity sensors. And finally Teslas come equipped with satellite GPS data that sees local traffic data.

Seeing this technology in action really makes you see how limited our fleshy consciousness is, as there are several videos of Teslas reacting to cars driving erratically a couple rows ahead in traffic, beyond what the driver can see. In another short video, a Tesla driver has stopped in the road and another car approaches it at a high speed, so the Tesla quickly accelerates before the other driver rear ends it.

This technology is certainly not going away, and is not going to be a “bubble”. In fact, some day it may be illegal to drive your own car, once we see how limited we are individually as drivers.

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