In what appears to be a common activity over the last few years, Tesla has removed yet another feature from the Model 3 and Model Y vehicles. Recently, Tesla has been dropping support for Lidar in its vehicles, replacing it with the new Tesla Vision that makes use of the vehicle’s cameras for everything. Regardless of if the vehicle already has Lidar installed or not. Now, the company has moved even further toward Tesla Vision by dropping support for its ultrasonic sensors.
These sensors are used to detect objects that are in a closer vicinity to the vehicle. Most commonly used while parking the car (these are what result in that force-field looking bubble moving inward toward the car on the screen as you get close to objects).
Apparently, the company feels confident enough about its camera-driven AI technology that it doesn’t need anything else to see. Although having ultrasonic sensors would still be nice as a backup in case the AI makes a mistake elsewhere (but who are we to assume things).
It is also an obvious attempt to shave off certain costs to help bring the vehicles into a more affordable range so that more users can jump on board. If the company can replace everything with the cameras using AI, it could potentially save thousands with every vehicle. That, and it probably has a lot to do with the constantly ongoing global supply chain shortage.
During the move transition to Tesla Vision, some vehicles (mainly the new models that are being manufactured without ultrasonic sensors) will come with some limited features until the company can fully integrated them into their replacement. The company claims it won’t take too long for this to occur. These features include Summon and Smart Summon, Autopark, and Park Assist.
Meanwhile, the company has been (finally) rolling out its latest FSD Beta to additional testers. An attempt to get more vehicles involved and enhance the amount of data being collected. A large step toward getting “navigation on city streets” out to the public. The public rollout is going to be one of Tesla’s greatest challenges when it comes to local and international regulations and approval.