So seems confirmed, all Tesla vehicles going forward are going to support USB3. Recently I was invited to update my M3 to HW3, but I’m holding off to be sure that the upgrade will include USB 3. Why? Well aside from WAY better wireless charging, the faster data throughput could be interesting.

Sigh… have to add a note here. Seems the Model Y does support highspeed charging at max 27w, but not 100w if you wanted to charge you laptop. But it seems nothing to indicated support for USB3.x. Bummed. Thus, unless the console is updated, AND HW3 supports USB 3.x , we have longer to wait. However, my thoughts still have not changed. Further, this can all be done using 2.0, but could be harder given the amount of data we are talking about. Realtime use of dense 3D data at USB2 speeds are unlikely, but in the case of a parking lot, and with smart compression, perhaps.

Jeda Hub

Most Tesla owners have already taken advantage of a very cool feature of sentry as well as full 360 camera recording. This is not a default feature of the car, instead you need to bring your own USB drive to record the video. So this is pretty important. The car was never intended to let you store recordings, yet, there is a port. So why not? So now we can record anytime, save files by honking the horn and turning on Sentry mode by saying “keep Summer safe”. Further, since its USB we can install Hubs. I was lucky enough to win a Jeda USB hub when I was the 420th suggestion on teslaideas. Pretty cool. I installed it myself and placed my usb stick with two formatted drives; (video, music). Now I have extra my jeda wireless pad reconnected and free ports for my xbox controllers. Sweet.

Jeda in my M3. Todo, get shorter cable.

So what kind of possibilities could we have once we have USB 3.x? Perhaps if you bring your own SSD, not only can we have video, perhaps we can bring our own games, play movies on the screen, etc.. But what would be really interesting to me is FSD. If we can expand memory significantly, perhaps we can keep a longer history of driving data and video on disk to allow machine learning pre-processing. Perhaps every-time we go into a parking lot or structure, we record and keep SLAM generated 3D mapping information about that structure. Further, what if we could generate and store 3D information about everywhere we drive? And what if we could share that with each other as 5G deploys on our cars? Do not want to wait for 5G on the car? Tether a 5G via USB. I can see a case where I put a destination in the map and get 3D mapping information for the whole drive including nearby parking.

LiDAR map

What is mind blowing about this is… we can do this today. SLAM solutions are quite mature and could be added into HW3. Add a 2T byte drive and not only can the FSD system using the ML based solutions but cross check this against 3D information stored on SSD. Bad weather, cross check what info we get from the sensors to the 3D dataset.

Personally, parking is one of the hardest thing for FSD. If we have detailed 3D maps, that would reduce the computational load on the car to focus more on the HARDEST FSD challenge out there…. people. We can also look into LiDAR for Tesla again. LiDAR systems are getting cheaper and cheaper with less power requirements. I can see using LiDAR as a supplement to the current ML solution. When trying to nav a crowded parking lot, or dark parking structure, or any parking area with poorly marked spots, a special software solution can be used to employ LiDAR (and event based cameras as well) to improve performance in these unique situations. 90% of the other time, we run the current camera based solution. With extended storage added to the system, we can maintain a GPS sorted dataset of difficult navigation situations, parking areas and contruction. We can share this information with other drivers as well how have the required extended storage.

USB 3, assuming its USB 3 and not just a ‘c’ connector, can open a lot of doors. I’m looking forward to what happens next.