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Self-Driving Tesla Model S: a Sneak Peek from Bosch
Posted on May 27, 2015 by Matt Pressman
A few months ago, we tried to envision what a self-driving Tesla might look like in the future. During our research, we came across a video by Bosch Mobility Solutions demonstrating their vision for how this might operate. And, now (again) Bosch has taken their "muse" -- the Tesla Model S -- and gone one step further.
According to Stuff, "Bosch's engineers took a pair of Model S [vehicles], tore them apart and reassembled them with the smart technology that would allow them to drive themselves. That technology consisted of 50 new components, including (brace yourselves) a front stereo video camera to watch the road markings and identify obstacles, six (non-Bosch) LiDAR laser scanners for 360º coverage around the car, two long-range (200m) and four mid-range (120m) radar sensors facing forwards and backwards, inertial sensors, a GNSS GPS navigation antenna, backup braking (both Bosch’s iBooster and ESP boxes) and ECU systems and a massive great PC in the back to hold hi-res maps and crunch the incoming data via bespoke algorithms. In total, 1400 human-hours, 1300 metres of cable and an estimated €200,000 went into the car."
So now I'm sure your wondering what it's like to drive in this Tesla Model S equipped with all these Bosch goodies. Stuff explains: "At the winding Boxberg test track, a Ford Fiesta drove around in front of us to show how smart the Tesla now is. Stopping quickly, driving at snail’s pace, accelerating into the distance: the Tesla reacted to the lot in a considered, sedate, measured manner... All the while our ‘driver’ had his feet on the floor (literally, not figuratively) and his hands in his lap. I could see what the car was thinking via a screen lashed to the dashboard, which showed a real-time rendition of the road, a million datapoints dotting in and out as we were driven."
This all begs the question: how will all of the thorny legal issues related to autonomous driving be worked out? Well, it turns out that Tesla has been working the problem and come up with an innovative (yet simple) solution to one self-driving capability. Wall Street Journal reports that, "Tesla Motors Inc. is looking at the good old-fashioned turn signal as a potential solution to a liability debate associated with driverless vehicle technology. The Palo Alto, Calif., electric-car maker soon will begin activating semiautonomous features, including the capability to pass other cars without driver intervention, in its Model S sedans. A driver can trigger the passing function by hitting the turn signal, according to people familiar with the technology. That action not only tells the car it can pass, but also means the driver has given thought to whether the maneuver is safe."
Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that software update v.7.0 will include auto steering functionality. It may use the "workaround" that the WSJ noted (above) to also steer clear of any liability issues. As different states (and countries) sort this all out, we thought we'd leave you with an infographic that explores some of these autonomous vehicle issues (and others) using Google's recent efforts as an example of how autonomous vehicles will evolve and become the future of motoring.
Source: Southside Motor Factors