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Tesla adds ‘calibration period’ for vehicles with new ‘Autopilot 2.5 hardware’

Tesla’s recently introduced new Autopilot hardware suite, dubbed “2.5”, in all its vehicles to enable more power and redundancy for its future self-driving capability.

Now Tesla warned the new owners of those vehicles being delivered that a ‘calibration period’ for the new hardware is resulting in features operating in “shadow mode”.

For Autopilot 2.0, Tesla vehicles required a ‘calibration period’ for the cameras to adjust before they could enable any feature. Each new vehicle needed to accumulate a few miles before the driver could engage Autopilot.

Now for the new “2.5 hardware”, Tesla’s whole fleet of vehicles using the new hardware, which entered production last month, will have to go through what Tesla is calling a “temporary calibration period”.

A Tesla spokesperson explained:

“We recently introduced some minor hardware changes to the Autopilot system in new cars, and we are now in the process of robustly validating the new hardware using real-world driving data. During that process, Automatic Emergency Braking will temporarily be inactive and will instead be in shadow mode, which means it will register how the feature would perform if it were activated, without taking any action. This temporary calibration period is standard Tesla protocol and is done out of an abundance of caution.”

The affected new owners should receive a notification if their AEB system is in shadow mode.

Tesla still believes that it can still bring “full self-driving capability” to vehicles with Autopilot 2.0 hardware and there’s no difference for the current Autopilot features active in the vehicle. If the automaker doesn’t enable“full self-driving capability” to vehicles with Autopilot 2.0, it plans to offer free retrofits to “Autopilot hardware 2.5”.

Electrek’s Take

Tesla still insists that the hardware changes were “minor”, but as we previously reported, sources indicated that Tesla added the second node to its onboard Autopilot computer, which could now be liquid-cooled.

Further wiring changes also suggest updated sensors, possibly a new radar, which could explain the need for Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) to be in shadow mode since it’s heavily reliant on the radar.

AEB is a tricky feature. While it can make the difference between life or death in an accident by applying the brakes a fraction of a second sooner and reducing the force of the impact, a false positive event can be just as dangerous. It’s why Tesla needs thorough validation with real-world data in shadow mode.

It led to the feature being unavailable for a long time on Tesla’s 2.0 Autopilot vehicles until it was enabled at full speed in June. It led to Consumer Reports removing and adding points to their review of Tesla’s vehicles. I wouldn’t be surprised if they remove them again now that it’s temporarily unavailable on Tesla’s new vehicles.

Tesla is talking about “3 to 6 weeks” before AEB can be activated again.

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