Tesla released a statement saying that beginning this month in North America, its Model 3 and Model Y vehicles would be fitted with camera-focused Autopilot and no radar sensor for semi-automated driving.
Following a string of collisions, regulators and the media have begun to question the reliability of Tesla’s “Autopilot” and “Full Self-Driving (FSD)” features.
“These will be the first Tesla vehicles to rely on camera vision and neural net processing to deliver Autopilot, Full-Self Driving, and certain active safety features,” Tesla said in a statement.
Although other firms, such as Waymo, outfit self-driving vehicles with cameras and sensors such as lidars and radars, Tesla has chosen to rely on cameras to track and analyze objects.
Tesla’s strategy helped the company cut costs and commercialize its driver assistance features, but analysts and other companies have expressed worries about the safety of the technology.
Tesla said that the future Model S and Model X models, as well as all vehicles made for markets outside of North America, will also have a radar.
Any of Tesla’s driver-assist functions, such as lane-centering and parking assistance, could be limited as a result of the switch to a camera-focused system, according to the company.
Tesla’s driver assistance system consists of eight surround cameras, a front-facing radar, and 12 ultrasonic sensors, which allow cars to center in lanes and retain space between vehicles.
A radar sensor detects the distance from structures using radio sensors. Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, tweeted in April that the company was working on an upgraded “FSD Beta” software with “pure vision, no radar.”
Tesla released a beta version of its FSD scheme to a select group of people in October, allowing cars to drive semi-autonomously on city streets as well as highways.
Since the automaker will not achieve complete self-driving capability before the end of 2021, a larger rollout has been postponed.