Elon Musk has made suggestions that full autonomy in Tesla vehicles could definitely require a computer upgrade, which seems to be bad news for anybody who currently owns one of the company's electric cars and was hoping for a simple, fast and easy, downloadable software update.
But overall, it's just part of the growing pains that is associated with the emerging technology.
Upgrades Needed To Run Full Autonomy
According to Inverse, on Monday during the World Government Summit in Dubai, the Tesla CEO said that while Tesla models that were built since October have the capabilities to power autonomous driving - which will be enabled via a future software update - it's also possible that the computer will also need to be upgraded in order to fully support the added feature.
"Riding cars are the same as riding an elevator. Tesla cars that are manufactured today are equipped with the sensor system that is needed to support full autonomy, and we strongly think that enough computer power is also necessary for it to be safer than a person," Musk said. "So, most likely it's just a question of uploading or upgrading the software. And if it turns out that more computer power is needed, we can easily upgrade the computer."
Needed Upgrade Could Disappoint Some Owners
According to HuffingtonPost, the news may disappoint some Tesla owners who were hoping that a software download could fully enable cross-country autonomous road trips by the end of this year. Musk did show confidence that the currently-shipping Tesla vehicles would work 100% with full autonomy, already packed with the sensors needed for capturing the data in the first place.
Depending on how the hardware portion of the upgrade process is built, it could potentially remain a relatively pain-free experience.
Autonomous Cars Is The Future
Musk has also said that within 10 years' time, it will be unusual for the brand new car to not come with full autonomous driving. It's a pretty bold statement, considering that a lot of manufacturers like Volkswagen and Toyota have predicted small tests of nearly-full autonomous cars will be starting in the next four years.