According to MIT Technology Review, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA)’s cars have been tracking and transmitting the data back to the Tesla hub headquarters so that the information can be analyzed for better service. Whether the car is in autopilot mode or the driver has full awareness, the car will still track and transmit. The cars do this thanks to the constant cellular connection that is installed in Tesla cars.
Tesla’s AutoPilot program director, Sterling Anderson said that the Tesla Model S vehicles all had a constant cellular connection installed from back in 2012. He was speaking at an EmTech Digital conference in San Francisco. The electric car company then started putting some new sensors and functionalities into their cars starting from 2014. The sensors and new functions helped track where the car was, what it was doing and how it behaved across the different and various environments it found itself in.
New sensors were installed for the emergency braking system effort. The new sensors actually help in that aspect and are highly needed for the brakes. However, the ultrasonic sensors implemented together with the radar and forwarded faced cameras are only there to help the company with testing their autonomous driving features on the cars being driven already.
The cellular connection that is constant can also be used to help with the automatic software updates that Tesla sends wirelessly. It saves owners the trip to a dealership so that they could get the latest software. But the cellular connection also means that Tesla can now input new functions that the driver doesn’t know about and do their tests without the driver’s consent.
However, neither Tesla nor the new functions have the ability to take over the cars which mean the driver still get control over their cars, and can also control which of the functions are still active. However, Tesla has an inert mode on their cars where Tesla is able to access data from sensors which shows how the car would have reacted if it was in autopilot mode.
This means that every new car that Tesla buys, the data set increases massively. Anderson said that the technology was input 18 months ago, and they have already harvested 780 million miles of information. Through this information, they can then improve people’s well-being.
Anderson spoke about the autopilot system, saying that drivers were not supposed to relax control but were to at least be prepared to take over when it was required.