Tesla is taking a leap this year and finally going radar-free. The Model 3 and Model Y Tesla vehicles in North America won’t feature forward-facing radar sensors anymore as the company will be going forward with their Tesla Vision plans.
In case you didn’t know, Tesla Vision is Elon Musk and his team’s plan to make cars fully autonomous without the need for radar, relying solely on cameras. So, right now, the Teslas’ eight cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors are under tests to see if they can drive Autopilot by themselves.
Until the system is refined however, and Tesla feels it can guarantee total safety to their customers, some other features will be missing as well.
For example, Smart Summon might be disabled at delivery. This means Tesla owners won’t be able to summon their car from a busy parking lot like they used to.
Then, Autosteer, the feature that kept the car in the middle of the lane, even when it dealt with curvers, will be unusable past 75 miles per hour. Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance will have the same fate.
The company was unable to say when these features would come back but when they do, they will be restored over the air, one by one.
As they give up radar, the standard tech for object detection on the road, and start the transition to Tesla Vision, the company will have to ensure customers they are completely safe at the wheel even without a backup plan.
Relying only on cameras is certainly a big bet in the automaking industry but Tesla believes that ditching radar progressively is the way to go. For now, Model S sedan and Model X SUV will keep radar sensors as the company focuses on Model 3 and Y, the best-selling vehicles in their portfolio, to provide enough data for tests