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Tesla which launched 'fully self-driving' computers last April and has already installed them in recently built  Model S, X, and 3 vehicles, reportedly might start retrofitting the chips into older cars.

Motor Authority, citing a tweet from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, said retrofitting most likely would begin toward the end of this year.

The report noted only Tesla vehicles with Autopilot Hardware 2 would be able to have the new computer fitted, and only if owners also ordered the 'full self-drive' option when configuring their new cars. That option cost US$6,000 and Musk said there were about 500,000 vehicles suitable for the upgrade.

Also citing Musk, Motor Authority said the new computer would give Teslas ability to drive themselves by the end of 2020.

Rather than fit cars with lidar and other equipment commonly used for autonomous driving, Musk and Tesla plan for a 'neural network', the report added.

In the April announcement, Musk reportedly said the computer and the car's camera and sensors would provide all the data needed to teach other cars how to drive themselves. The neural network uses human annotators to identify common sights on the road, such as other cars, pedestrians, and cyclists. All of the data is fed to the in-house-designed Tesla computer and two of the fully self-driving computer chips are fitted for safety redundancy purposes.

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By GlobalData

Noting Tesla and Musk "have been a little loose with timelines", Motor Authority said it wasn't clear if the automaker could deliver on the timeline.