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Tesla is transitioning away from radar and to a camera-only system for Autopilot

I can see this ending badly.

tesla model 3 on road
Image: Tesla

Announced quietly on the Tesla support pages, the EV company is transitioning to Tesla Vision, its camera-only version of Autopilot. Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles sold in the US will no longer have radar, starting with deliveries in May.

That means your new Tesla will rely completely on neural net processing of the many camera feeds on your vehicle, with no additional sensors to support Autopilot, Full Self-Driving, or some safety features.

If you’re outside the US, or if you want a Model X or Model S, your car will still have radar-supported Autopilot until Tesla “determine[s] the appropriate time to transition those vehicles to Tesla Vision.”

There are a couple of things to note about the near future of Tesla’s Autopilot (per Tesla):

  • Autosteer will be limited to a maximum speed of 75 mph and feature a longer minimum following distance
  • Smart Summon (if equipped) and Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance may be disabled at delivery

The carmaker aims to add those features back as over-the-air updates in the weeks after delivery, assuming you get one of the early vehicles involved in this transition.

Maybe there’s some method to this madness, as the only other system that can drive is us, and our eyes are very close to cameras in operation.

If Tesla can crack machine vision for driving, that might be the breakthrough needed for machine vision that can rival or even surpass human vision, opening up whole new swathes of robotics for exploration.

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