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Tesla to remove ultrasonic sensors amid ‘Autopilot’ scrutiny: All details

Tesla faces growing regulatory, legal and public scrutiny over its Autopilot system following crashes.Premium
Tesla faces growing regulatory, legal and public scrutiny over its Autopilot system following crashes.

  • Tesla vehicles now have 12 ultrasonic sensors on the front and rear bumpers, and short-range sound sensors are mainly used in parking applications and to detect close objects.

Tesla Inc states it will remove ultrasonic sensors from its vehicles starting this month, as it moves ahead with using only cameras in its safety and driver-assistance features.

Tesla vehicles now have 12 ultrasonic sensors on the front and rear bumpers, and short-range sound sensors are mainly used in parking applications and to detect close objects.

“It will save them a few dollars. I mean those things are pretty cheap. It would also save them some chips," said Guidehouse Insights analyst Sam Abuelsamid referring to ultrasonic sensors.

To recall, Tesla last year started dropping radar sensors amid a chip shortage. According to Elon Musk, Chief Executive of Tesla, the company can achieve full autonomy with cameras only, but he has missed his targets to toll out self-driving taxis which require no drivers.

Tesla faces growing regulatory, legal and public scrutiny over its Autopilot system following crashes.

Tesla said it will remove ultrasonic sensors from the Model 3 and Model Y globally over the next few months, followed by the Model S and Model X in 2023.

The transition would temporarily limit automated parking features, but not affect crash safety ratings, notes Tesla.

“It remains to be seen whether this will be two steps forward and one backward or the other way around," said Rajkumar, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

While the self-driving tech firms and automakers use multiple sensors like expensive lidars, Tesla relies only on cameras and artificial intelligence to help a vehicle recognise the environment.

“The question is how well the cameras can see nearby the car, which sometimes can be limited," said Philip Koopman, Professor, Carnegie Mellon University.

A widely followed Tesla researcher known only as ‘Green’ on Twitter tweeted on Tuesday that ultrasonic sensors are also used in Autopilot as a ‘fail safe 'feature for changing lanes.

 

 

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