Tesla is leveraging data from its large customer fleet equipped with Autopilot hardware to train its neural network to handle these corner cases. According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Tesla Autopilot will eventually detect potholes and make mini-maps to avoid them. We are now seeing the first indication that Tesla’s fleet of vehicles is looking for them or more “rough road sections” in general, two years after Tesla Autopilot was introduced.
An autonomous vehicle would need to be able to handle different weather conditions and road conditions in order to achieve full autonomy. It is improbable that self-driving systems will be able to navigate these conditions, such as potholes adequately.
Tesla writes in the release notes of the 2020.20 software update that it has added the following new feature to its ‘Tesla Adaptive Suspension’ system: “Tesla Adaptive Suspension will now adjust ride height for an upcoming rough road section. This adjustment may occur at various locations, subject to availability, as the vehicle downloads rough road map data generated by Tesla vehicles.” This is the first confirmation of the Tesla vehicle fleet scanning the roads to evaluate its requirements.
Tesla explains how to activate the feature: “The instrument cluster will continue to indicate when the suspension is raised for comfort. To enable this feature, tap Controls > Suspension > Adaptive Suspension Damping, and select the Comfort or Auto setting.” This feature will only be available in Tesla vehicles with adaptive suspensions, like the new Model S and Model X.
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Electrrek, the expert who breaks down news about Tesla, electric vehicles, and green energy, stated, “This is a nice step toward the direction of Autopilot, and Full Self-Driving, being able to avoid potholes. Tesla at least confirms that it is scanning the road to determine its conditions and I would assume that the next step is to make Autopilot/FSD avoid those issues.”