Among NFL coaches and military generals, it’s a longheld belief that the best defense is a good offense and, though he doesn’t believe we’re actually living in reality, Elon Musk seems to agree.
Despite mounting concerns about the safety of self-driving cars, he announced that all future Tesla models will be equipped with hardware that will enable the vehicles to operate autonomously in all situations.
Future Teslas will be manufactured with eight 360-degree cameras, 12 ultrasonic radars and additional forward-facing radar. They'll also come equipped with software that is 40 times more powerful than the existing version and processes data from the sensors at a much faster rate.
Considering the uncertainty about how autonomous vehicles will ultimately be regulated on the local and national level once (make that if) they’re deemed safe, the move is bold, brash and typical Musk.
With a slate of e-car competitors set to release models in the near future — some by the end of the year — Musk and Tesla are attempting to put themselves even further ahead of the curve by offering customers second-generation electric cars before most company’s even release a first.
In a move that further sets Tesla apart from the pack (for better or worse), the new cars will run on the “Tesla Network” which will allow owners to use “a self-driving Tesla for car sharing and ride hailing” but restrict them to using the network if they’re “doing so for revenue purposes.”
That move would theoretically preclude owners from autonomously using their car to make income via Uber, Lyft or any other non-Tesla ride-sharing service.
There's still no word on how the cars themselves feel about all this. For the moment, they appear to be biding their time, watching and waiting, until the moment is ripe.