Tesla cars were among the first to bring up the possibility of autonomous driving based on advanced sensors, and now they appear to be the first to ditch those advanced sensors in favor of simple video cameras. Elon Musk has said in the past that his company’s solution for autonomous driving will be entirely camera-based, with no laser or ultrasonic sensors, and now even the last such sensor will disappear from the Model 3 and Model Y. The cameras will thus take over other safety and driving assistance functions.
Tesla cars will have safety systems based solely on cameras
Model 3 and Model Y cars rolling out of Tesla factories starting this month for sale in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Taiwan will drop the 12 ultrasonic sensors they previously included. These were generally positioned on the front of the car to detect potential hazards and activate the car’s safety systems accordingly.
In general, ultrasonic sensors are used to detect the distance to the car in front, to avoid a collision in cruise control, or to detect pedestrians and other obstacles in traffic. Even parking sensors are ultrasonic sensors, which can detect the distance to objects very close to you.
All of these functions will now be taken over by video cameras, which are placed around Tesla cars. These are now being used for basic in-car capabilities, as well as Full Self-Driving and Autopilot assisted driving functions.
This move on Tesla’s part goes against the current market trend. Car manufacturers are starting to add as many sensors to assist with safety features and automated capabilities of cars, while Tesla is taking out these advanced components it already had.
The Model S and Model X, the premium models in Tesla’s offering, will drop these sensors starting in 2023.