During Tesla’s earnings call last month, CEO Elon Musk called the radar one of the last “crutches” the electric vehicle maker wants to remove in its quest for full autonomy, which has proven elusive so far. Musk was famously opposed to lidar technology, which uses pulses of laser light to detect objects. He’s been bitter about radar ever since, which uses radio waves to do the same thing. Tesla’s sensor suite previously relied on radar as well as eight cameras.
“We are continuing to transition to Tesla Vision, our camera-based autopilot system,” says company website. “As of deliveries in May 2021, Model 3 and Model Y vehicles built for the North American market will no longer be equipped with radar. Instead, these will be the first Tesla vehicles to rely on camera vision and neural network processing to deliver autopilot, fully autonomous driving, and some active safety features.
The move comes as Tesla’s driver assistance feature, known as Autopilot, appears to be under increasing regulatory scrutiny in the U.S. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, as well as the The National Transportation Safety Board has opened an investigation into a fatal and inflamed accident in Texas that killed two men in April. A preliminary report from the NTSB said the Tesla owner initially drove the car.
Read more: Tesla owner in Fiery Texas Crash initially drove a car
On May 5, a Tesla Model 3 crashed into an overturned semi-trailer at 2:35 a.m. in Fontana, Southern California, and the driver was killed. The NHTSA and the California Highway Patrol Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team are still investigating this accident.
“To clarify, there has been no final determination as to how the Tesla drove or whether it contributed to the crash,” the CHP said in a May 14 statement.
While Musk has said for several years that he believes Tesla is on the verge of delivering Level 5 range – meaning his cars won’t require human intervention – drivers have had to keep their hands on the wheel during the race. the use of the autopilot. Tesla raised more than $ 2 billion two years ago after Musk made several robotaxis predictions that failed to materialize. Many Tesla customers who have Autopilot say features improve over time as the company rolls out new software updates.
Late Tuesday, Musk tweeted about the latest changes and updates to come.