Transcript: Elon Musk’s press conference about Tesla Autopilot under v8.0 update [Part 6]


This is part 6 of our transcript of Elon Musk’s press conference about Tesla Autopilot under v8.0 update. You can read the part 1 and part 2 for Musk’s opening statement and part 3 is the first part of the Q&A followed by part 4 and part 5.

Now here’s part 6:

David Shepardson – Reuters

Thank you. You mentioned some of the changes you are making in term of preventing – require people to place their hands on the steering wheel. Can you tell us how it is changing in term of how many seconds you will be allowed hands off the wheel versus the current one and will this satisfy NHTSA or do you think you will have to do this upgrade as part of a formal recall?

Elon Musk – Tesla CEO

The word “recall” doesn’t make sense in this context since this is an over-the-air update. “Recall” is for companies where the cars require plug in something into the car. It’s not a term that really make sense in this situation. We have done most of these changes with NHTSA and I don’t want to speak for them but they appear to be pretty happy with the changes and the reactions from them is quite positive.

Harrison Weber – Venture Beat

Hi Elon, I just have a question regarding the camera and image processing system: could you articulate basically what’s in use now versus what was in use before this update?

Elon Musk – Tesla CEO

The radar and the camera would have to agree. In fact, really unless the camera recognizes the object and then radar would cross check then it would initiate a braking event. That’s sort of quite tricky because they are things that the camera would not recognize. Or it’s too ambiguous from a visual standpoint to initiate a braking event. In fact, if you have a light object against a light  sky or you are driving into the sun, these are hard for people to see – they are not just hard for image recognition systems to see. It’s hard if you are person, but the radar would not care if it was staring at the sun or what the contrast ratio of the object is relative to the background.

So yeah, the radar-only braking is quite powerful – it will superhuman.

Rachel Burgess – Autocar


Elon Musk – Tesla CEO

You are breaking up.

Rachel Burgess – Autocar

Can you hear me know?

Elon Musk – Tesla CEO


Rachel Burgess – Autocar

Apologies. When will it be coming to Europe?

Elon Musk – Tesla CEO

It will be deployed worldwide I think in the next one to two weeks.

Rachel Burgess – Autocar

Great. thank you. And also, how consistently does the radar echo work? You mentioned in the blog post that it sends a signal under a vehicle, but what if let’s say the vehicle was very low?

Elon Musk – Tesla CEO

I mean it would have to be very very low. The radar transmitter-receiver is located on the lower grill at the center of the car so it’s really maybe – I’m just guessing here – a foot above the ground. Even if there was a 6-inch clearance or less on the car in front, it would still be able to see the echo. It will also try to bounce around the car, through the glass house of the car, it really going to be listening for everything that is an echo that still as the original signature – each pulse as little signatures – so even if it is faint it notices that pulse because of the signature – sort of like music has digital right management.

We have this to tell us that it’s that pulse and not a prior pulse, and we have the photon time of flight. That’s how we are able to see something beyond the car in front of you.

Here you can read Part 7: Transcript: Elon Musk’s press conference about Tesla Autopilot under v8.0 update [Part 7]

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