Tesla may have the largest test fleet.

It’s no secret that Tesla and other automakers are in a race. That race is to see which company’s test fleet will bring a fully autonomous vehicle to the market first and offer these vehicles for sale. It seems the challenge happens to be the fact that nearly every single time there is an obstacle that has to be overcome more programming and technology is needed to make sure these vehicles can become fully autonomous.   One thing that has easily become evident is the fact that there is a need for more data than is currently available, which means vehicles need to be in real world driving conditions during testing.

In order to create a larger fleet of test vehicles to help bring in the data that’s needed to create and develop the autonomous technology that will be needed, Tesla has made it possible for owners to send their videos while driving using their over the air systems that have been used for upgrading the Tesla models already. This is a great way for this company to collect data, but one of the concerns many owners may have is having their videos shared or analyzed and associated with their vehicle.

Tesla claims the video clips that it collects are meant to protect your identity in a variety of ways. First of all, before any clips are collected you have to opt in to having your vehicle send in these videos. Secondly, these clips are not linked to or associated with any particular VIN to make sure a video can’t be associated with your specific car. The third way to protect you is in the collection of the data which is put together as a collection to make it impossible for any one segment to be link back to a vehicle.

The purpose of collecting these videos is to help the cameras and systems aboard the Tesla vehicles learn how to recognize the lane lines, street signs and traffic lights on the road. The more this test fleet offers the information and data needed the more likely it is these cars can be developed to offer the right technology and give you the ride quality you’ve been looking for. These cameras will also learn about road conditions and help develop the autonomous technology that could be part of what Tesla has to offer on the market in the near future.

While other fleet companies such as Lyft and Uber are also using a large number of vehicles for their own testing, the most realistic use of data collection may come from the Tesla models on the road. With these owner drivers this company may have the best chance of being the first to the market with a fully autonomous system of driving. As the autonomous car race continues, there will likely be other companies that follow what Tesla has already chosen to do, and we will eventually have cars that are able to drive by themselves so that you don’t have to touch the steering wheel anymore.

Written by Kerry Marasco

Call me old fashioned by I just got into social media recently. Yes, I'm that gal you see at the real coffee shop (aka not Starbucks) with an actual book.

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