Tesla Inc announced on Tuesday that, beginning this month in North America, it will ditch the radar sensor in favour of a camera-based Autopilot system for its Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.
Following a series of crashes, regulators and the media have begun to question the safety of Tesla’s “Autopilot” and “Full Self-Driving (FSD)” technologies.
In a Tweet, CEO Elon Musk wrote, “Pure vision Autopilot is now going out in North America.”
Three weeks later, he claimed, the company hopes to issue an enhanced “FSD beta V9.0” based on the pure vision system.“At the same time, FSD subscription will be activated,” he stated.
Tesla sent out a test version of its new FSD technology to a small group of users in October, allowing cars to travel semi-autonomously on city streets as well as highways. A broader launch has been postponed.
While most businesses, such as Waymo, use cameras in conjunction with sensors such as lidars and radars to detect and analyse things, Tesla relied solely on cameras and a single radar.
Tesla’s strategy helped the company save costs and commercialise its driver assistance features, but experts and other businesses have expressed worries about safety.
Some functionalities, such as lane-centering and parking assistance, may be limited as a result of the switch to a camera-focused system, according to Tesla, but those abilities will be restored via software updates “in the weeks ahead.”
Tesla said that all new Model S and Model X automobiles, as well as any vehicles made for markets outside of North America, will still include a radar.
A radar sensor detects objects using radio waves and sensors.
Tesla warned California regulators in March that it might not be able to accomplish full self-driving technology by the end of 2021.