Tech

Autopilot: Tesla removes ultrasonic sensors in favor of cameras

For several months, Tesla has been gradually removing the various sensors used in its cars for autonomous driving in favor of 360° cameras. After LiDAR, Tesla announced the removal of ultrasonic sensors on its next cars.

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As you know, Tesla has decided for a few months now to stand out from the competition regarding the equipment used in autonomous driving. While car manufacturers mostly use a mixture of LiDAR, radar and cameras, the American brand has chosen to trust its Tesla Vision technology.

Tesla Vision relies solely on 360° cameras to scan the environment. According to Elon Musk, the Tesla Vision system is already particularly efficient and is destined to become even smarter over the course of updates.

Tesla is ditching ultrasonic sensors on its cars

However, after having removed the frontal radars in 2021, Tesla has just announced the gradual abandonment of ultrasonic sensors (USS) in its future cars. As our colleagues from Electrek report, these ultrasonic sensors are mainly used for close-range detection of the environmentincluding for easier parking and collision warnings.

At first, USS sensors will disappear in November 2022 on the last Model 3 and Model Y sold in North America, Europe, the Middle East and Taiwan, before extending the measure to the global level. From 2023, USS sensors will be removed from Model S and Model X.

No safety risk according to Tesla

Regarding the security risks caused by the abandonment of USS sensors, the manufacturer wants to be reassuring. He explains that this measure will not affect the safety ratings of the cars. Nevertheless, the brand led by Elon Musk claim that cars shipped without these sensors will lose”temporarily” access to certain functions such as Park Assist, which helps the motorist avoid nearby objects when parking, AutoPark, automatic parking technology, or Summon and Start Summon, which allows the car to park and vice versa completely autonomously.

Tesla states that these features will be restored once the Tesla Vision performs as well than the previous system and its ultrasonic sensors. Coming back to the security aspect, we can’t help but be skeptical. Remember that shortly after the removal of the front radars, the cases of phantom braking with the Autopilot activated increased drastically.

As a reminder, the phantom braking described poor detection by the driving system autonomous, who wrongly decides to brake thinking that an obstacle is in his way. Complaints about phantom braking had multiplied with NHTSA, the US federal agency in charge of road safety. At the time, many users had assured that the removal of frontal radars was the main source of the problem. Tesla had managed to reduce the number of phantom brakings via an update in November 2021. However, this concern never really disappeared.

Source : Electrek

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