For a long time, Tesla has been a reference not only for its electric technology but also for its developments in the field of autonomous driving. Though not exempt from controversies and heated discussions, the Autopilot system has in fact as many followers as detractors, and though now at stake in legal battles, that hasn't stopped Tesla engineers from pushing ahead with the next generation of the autonomous driving system. The necessary paperwork has just been filed with European regulators, which means that Tesla's Autopilot 4.0 will be unveiled soon.
Some time ago Elon Musk himself assured that they were going to launch a new version of the assisted driving program with a state-of-the-art control unit, but he did not actually specify when that moment would eventually happen. However, a new filing with European regulators in the Netherlands has set off alarms, pointing to an immediate release. Many rumors suggest that the great autonomous driving technology will be finally unveiled on March 1, during the Investor Day event, to which we wrote about a little while ago.
Over the past few months there have been plenty of signs that somehow indicate important changes are coming. The use of sensors instead of cameras, and the expansion of very accurate sensors systems in the most current models already indicated the work behind the scenes. Not without controversy, Tesla finally seems to have backed down with the cameras issue, and everything now indicates that they will once again be fully integrated into the autonomous driving program. What is unknown is whether Tesla will use state-of-the-art LiDAR radars, as they are widely being used by some powerful rivals, mainly Chinese.
Thanks to a Tesla supporters forum, we have been able to find out what specific changes the EV manufacturer apparently plans. The application to the European Union authorities includes several significant developments, such as the creation of a new app for Model S and Model X, as well as a significant list of important changes, such as: introduction of fourth generation vehicle control system (Autopilot); introduction of a new GNSS computer and antenna; third generation inverters; change in the automatic sensor of high beams and dipped beam; unification of the braking system of the Model X; new support arm for the interior mirror of the Model X; manufacturer Engine Code Update; vehicle Rear Badge Upgrade; and finally, vehicle maximum speed updates.
In the coming weeks we will have more news about these features, although the presentation at Investor Day on March 1 may be somewhat anticipated. The technology will take time to actually reach cars on the streets, but it is more than clear that Tesla will have a version 4.0 of the Autopilot system. Now it only remains to be known what software version and exactly what new features will be included to improve the equipment. On a side note, a survey has recently revealed that Tesla's autonomous driving program has allegedly fallen sharply in the user rating rankings.
We will have to wait and see how the situation evolves once version 4.0 of Autopilot is finally released.
All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.
Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.