Tesla may have promised that all its newly-made vehicles from October 2016 onward would have the groundwork for self-driving capabilities, but that doesn't mean its technology is set in stone. Electrek has learned that Tesla is quietly equipping new Model 3, S and X production units with upgraded Autopilot hardware (HW 2.5). Don't put your barely-used P100D up for sale, though, as this isn't a night-and-day upgrade. Although Electrek says the new gear includes a secondary node to enable more computing power, a spokesperson says 2.5 is really about adding "computing and wiring redundancy" that "very slightly" boosts reliability.
Every HW 2.0 or later car should still have the foundations for self-driving functionality, in other words. It's "highly unlikely" that these vehicles will need an upgrade when full autonomy is an option, but Tesla will upgrade them to 2.5 for free if necessary.
The improvement underscores the fine line Tesla has to walk with when it comes to upgrades. The electric car maker revolves around constant iteration, but it also has to meet the expectations of customers who bought expensive add-ons assuming they'd eventually get full self-driving features. Tesla likely has more headroom for vehicle upgrades than this, but it can't do anything that would limit driverless tech to post-2.0 vehicles.