If you’ve taken a look online recently for anything related to Tesla or electric vehicles, you may have noticed that Tesla’s line of vehicles have the capability to essentially drive themselves with little to no human intervention. This might seem like technology from the far future, and even a little unsafe, however, taking a look into the nitty-gritty provided by all of the sensors in the Tesla vehicle models will show that there is a ton of data used to keep these cars self-driving safely down the freeway.
In 2019-2020, the most popular electric car sold was the Tesla Model 3. It hugely gained popularity when Elon Musk sent a Tesla Roadster into a space & also after launching the Tesla Roadster 2020 – the fastest accelerating car. Here are some jaw-dropping facts about Tesla Roadster 2020.
As Tesla gains more traction in the auto market, people start to wonder how this technology works. We’ve included a breakdown of sensors for autopilot and different autonomous functions below for those interested.
What Can Autopilot Do
Before we dive into how Tesla’s self-driving tech, or Autopilot, works, we will first outline what these technologies can do and what it is currently used for.
The Autopilot technology is able to assist drivers in steering, changing lanes, avoiding debris on the road and a whole lot more. With this in mind, you’re likely wondering how the vehicle is able to do this safely, and in fact, a lot better than a human would be able to, and so take a look at the sensors outlined below.
Keep in mind that all of the data in the following sensors are monitored and utilised in real-time by Tesla vehicles, making the experience potentially a lot safer than human-first driving as long as you’re still supervising the car.
Autopilot systems have the same concept of working – control loop feedback system. Check, if any parameter or condition is matched & take the necessary action accordingly, that’s it, that’s Autopilot systems at the very basic and core level. Also, it’s the same way airplane autopilot systems work!
Know more here – How Autopilot systems work?
The Sensors for Autopilot
You’ll find a myriad of different sensors built into the latest Tesla model vehicles, all of which work in real-time and cohesively to keep your vehicle on the road safely and driving without a hitch. In some cases, these sensors even work quickly enough to avoid accidents.
Teslas contain several cameras that identify objects surrounding the car. There is a wide, main, narrow, forward looking side, rear looking side and rear view camera. These all cover an array of different angles around the vehicle that virtually eliminate blind spots. Forward looking cameras help detect cars that are about to enter your lane. The rear view camera allows you to detect objects when the car is in reverse. It also makes it possible to autonomously parallel park.
Radar adds another layer of visibility to Teslas. The way radar works is through electromagnetic pulses. The vehicle sends out electromagnetic pulses and if there is an object in front of you, the pulse will reflect and the signal will get returned to the car. So even if visibility is poor due to rain or fog, the Tesla will still be able to determine the distance between you and the car ahead.
The Ultrasonic sensors are wrapped around the car for full 360 degree coverage. Ultrasonic Sensors work similar to radar except instead of emitting electromagnetic pulses, they emit high frequency sound waves that can travel longer distances. Once the sound bounces off an object, it returns back to the car where it becomes processed.
Relevant article – How self-driving cars work?
The Smart Cruise Control Function
One of the more popular functions on offer in Tesla vehicles is the cruise control function which essentially works to keep the vehicle in the centre of the lane you’re driving in without any major requirement for driver intervention for the car to remain in the lane.
Added to this you will also find that the cruise control function works to adapt and adjust speeds based on vehicles in front of the Tesla and thus keep your vehicle and occupants a safe distance away from those in front of you.
When it comes to safety, the side-facing sensors will also track vehicles merging into your lane and either slow down the vehicle and veer into a safe space in order to avoid a collision. When compared to a human, this slow, calculated movement into another lane trumps a human’s innate response to slam on the brakes..
The Autosteer Function
The feature that potentially causes the most anxiety for some drivers is the autosteer function which essentially takes away the most human-controlled part of driving and replacing it with the car itself.
With this function, you’ll essentially be able to rely on the Tesla to do everything from driving in its lane, changing lanes and even parking, leaving you to do little other than keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, and not do too much else.
Keeping all of these ‘talents’ in mind, you’re likely wondering how this function works, and so we tie this back to the sensors we outlined above. All of the sensor data comes into play here and allows the vehicle to essentially monitor all incoming data in real-time and make adjustments that are safe as opposed to impulsive.
Want to know more how they work & dive more into mechanics. Here’s an article you might be interested –
I hope with all of those points above in mind, it is quite simple to understand that with more data being fed into the vehicle than a human could ever understand, Tesla’s autopilot functions will continue to improve in future models whatsoever!