Tesla removes ultrasonic sensors; what does this mean for you?
Tesla is constantly changing its car designs as it tries to improve them. However, some of them turn out controversial in the industry. One such change is the removal of all ultrasonic sensors from new cars. What is Tesla replacing the ultrasonic sensors with, and what does that mean for you?
From ultrasonic sensors to Tesla Vision
Tesla cars are known for being aware of their environment, enabling them to function to a degree autonomously. Most cars use a combination of cameras, radar, Lidar, and ultrasonic sensors for the same purpose.
The ultrasonic sensors typically function to enhance anti-collision safety systems. They assist in detecting objects close to the car, which is important when parking.
You might be aware that Tesla does not use Lidar and has stopped equipping its car with radar, to much debate. The EV company is taking it further by eliminating ultrasonic sensors. However, the EV maker has a replacement, Tesla Vision.
Tesla believes so much in its Tesla Vision that it has assured users that removing the ultrasonic sensors would not affect safety. It said in a statement, “Compared to radar-equipped vehicles, Model 3 and Model Y with Tesla Vision have either maintained or improved their active safety ratings in the US and Europe, and perform better in pedestrian automatic emergency braking (AEB) intervention.”
Starting in October, all Model 3s and Model Ys to be sold in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Taiwan would not use ultrasonic sensors. The Model S and Model X will drop the sensors in 2023.
What is Tesla Vision?
Tesla Vision relies solely on cameras. In reality, the move to Tesla Vision started when Tesla scrapped radar.
The company said Tesla Vision allows the car to see objects similarly to humans. Artificial neural nets augment the cameras.
What does the absence of ultrasonic sensors and the presence of Tesla Vision mean for you?
If you own a Tesla car with ultrasonic sensors, Tesla says Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot, FSD, and other safety features will continue to work. However, the story might differ slightly if you buy a Tesla during or after October.
Cars produced while Tesla transitions to Tesla Vision, which will lack ultrasonic sensors, will be delivered with some features not activated. These include Park Assist, Autopark, Summon, and Smart Summon. This will undoubtedly upset some buyers, but a future update will activate the features.
Meanwhile, some analysts have predicted Tesla may lose some customers. This is because of the fear of Tesla Vision not working very well, as there will be no backup. Will cameras prove to be worthy replacements for ultrasonic sensors? Time will tell.