Tesla to ditch radar sensors in favour of camera-focused pure vision technology

This change is in response to a fatal crash

Tesla is starting to follow through with ditching its radar tech for its driver-assistance system’s Autopilot following a fatal crash.

The company announced the change on its website and said that Model 3 sedans and Model Y SUVs built for North America will no longer offer the radar starting this month. Autopilot will now solely use camera vision, and until the transition is made, Tesla will temporarily disable some features.

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, equated the radar sensor to “crutches” during the company’s latest earnings call, according to BNN Bloomberg. However, back in 2016, when Tesla first adopted the radar system, Musk said that Tesla would upgrade its vehicles’ Autopilot by enhancing the use of radar. At the time, the CEO told reporters that the radius would have prevented a crash that occurred months earlier involving a Model S using sensors that failed to detect a tractor before a fatal collision.

This change to ‘pure vision,’ which is the all-camera vision Autopilot system, will likely spark controversy. Many other automotive companies looking to develop autonomous vehicles, including Alphabet and General Motors (GN), support the use of additional sensors if the main ones fail. However, it’s worth noting that Tesla’s website says its vehicles will continue to use 12 ultrasonic sensors to prevent collisions and to assist with parking. 

Tesla tells customers to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road when using its Autopilot functionality, even for those who have opted for the Full Self-Driving package.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are looking into the fatal crashes involving Teslas in Texas and California. It’s yet to be determined if Autopilot was involved in this latest incident.

Source: BNN Bloomberg