I’ve given a few runs of my presentation on Driverless Cars in Australia, Malaysia and NewZealand. One thing I’ve noticed is how engaged and excited the audience become when they see a Tesla Model S, driving itself for the first time. What I wanted to achieve in this blog, is to share with you some of this magic and some of the graphics and features I present to the audience.
Now…the reason I’ve picked the Tesla Model S is because: 1 – it’s a cool car, 2 – it’s Tesla and who doesn’t love Elon Musk and 3 – They make the most advanced and lowest price driverless cars in the world…oh…and did I tell you they have the best range of any electric car, maxing out at around 667km for the lower-end model at 70 kph (see diagram 1 below) and decreasing to 452km at 120 kph. (see diagram 2 below).
Pretty impressive huh?
The Tesla Enhanced Autopilot system
The Tesla Enhanced Autopilot system is the key to the car. It provides a number of different automatic features. New features are added as software upgrades, with the Autopilot hardware already set to support years of automation ahead. For those worried about hackers, the software upgrades only happen whilst the car is parked safely at home. The car is completely independent when mobile, so all network traffic is blocked.
There are 3 driver assist features I want to demonstrate via a series of compelling videos.
- Auto Lane Changes
- Traffic Aware Cruise Control
These features do not make the car driverless or fully autonomous, but provide a pathway to automated driving in the future:
Full Driverless or Fully Autonomous mode is the final feature to demo. The best video I’ve found is the one shown by Tesla. Bear in mind, this video is now over 1 year old. To make the video shorter, the footage has been accelerated.
The 3 screens on the right, show 3 of the 8 cameras that the Autopilot system is using. The green boxes show seeing threats to the car, such as other cars and pedestrians, the blue boxes show out-of-path objects which it does not deem as threats to the car. It even picks up the traffic signals, see the orange colours, against the bright cloud background. The automation is controlled by Artificial Intelligence which is delivered through a variety of technologies and techniques. The key technique at play here is Deep Learning, otherwise known as Neural Network modelling.
To find out more around how to use Deep Learning, you can visit Tesla’s partner, Nvidia.
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