Last year Tesla announced an important change in the installation of Model 3 and Model Y electric vehicles – they stopped using radars to determine distance to obstacles in reduced visibility. The senior Model S and Model X have retained this type of sensor, but they will also lose short-range ultrasonic sensors next year. Model 3 and Model Y are scheduled to simplify for this year.
As with the removal of radars last year, this change is intended to bring the custom systems of active driver assistance closer to the actions of a person who is forced to rely mainly on visual information when driving. In the case of Tesla, the "eyes" of the system will be on-board cameras, and the ultrasonic sensors distributed to front and rear bumpers will no longer be installed on Model Y and Model 3 during this year, and in 2023 the more expensive Model S/X will be affected.
This change will limit the functionality of the new batch machines. Withdrawn ultrasonic sensors, electric vehicles will temporarily lose the ability to manoeuvre automatically in the parking lot and travel from it to the directly visible owner. In the future, these functions will be added, but technically no longer rely on ultrasonic sensors. The economic benefits of simplifying the installation of Tesla electric vehicles will not be very significant in the experts ' opinion.
Remember that Ilon Mask is a strong opponent of the use of so-called lidars — optical sensors that can determine the distance to objects even in conditions of limited visibility. Many automakers who claim to have full autopilot systems are equipped with cameras and lidars, not to mention radars and ultrasonic sensors. The latter have long been used in so-called parking sensors, preventing hits against manoeuvring in a restricted space. Whether Tesla can effectively replace this channel with visual information will be understandable over time. In Tesla's electric vehicle accident statistics, there are already several high-profile incidents in which cameras have failed to accurately detect the obstacle due to difficult visibility conditions. The rejection of another type of sensor will certainly add to the work of Tesla software developers, but this decision is likely to have been seriously influenced by the company's own head.