A source close to Tesla Motors, on the condition of anonymity, has confirmed that Tesla Autopilot 2.0 is coming soon. Prototype Model S and Model X units are already operating in the wild sporting two forward facing cameras, something other outlets have reported on as well, which may indicate part of the new hardware to take advantage of Autopilot 2.0’s additional features.
“The dual camera system is capable of recognizing and reacting to stop signs and traffic lights with no driver input,” our source explained. Tesla’s autopilot currently needs a car in front of it in order to automatically slow down or stop. In other words, a Tesla can’t currently just stop itself at a light or a stop sign, which is why the added cameras may be required. If Autopilot 2.0 does indeed read and react to traffic lights and stop signs, it would bring Tesla’s cars closer to autonomous driving.
Tesla’s current test vehicles with Autopilot 2.0 are running “very beta” software that was likely the precursor to v8.0, our source explained. Electreck gives a great rundown of what v8.0 will offer. Given how powerful it already sounds, Autopilot 2.0 will keep Tesla as king of the hill for just a little while longer. Tesla needs to act quick, though; competitors such as Google already have fully autonomous vehicles in public testing.
And, as exciting as this sounds, current owners may be left in the cold. After all, when Tesla first included autopilot hardware in cars built after September 14, 2014, anyone who ordered the car prior to that date — even fully loaded vehicles — didn’t get the upgrade. It also took a year for the over-the-air updates to hit. That may be the case with Model 3 orders, but I have my fingers crossed the Model 3 will ship with Autopilot 2.0.