Tesla will remove more vehicle sensors amid Autopilot scrutiny

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla logo on a Model S is photographed inside of a Tesla dealership in New York, U.S., April 29, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Tesla Inc said on Tuesday it will remove ultrasonic sensors from its vehicles starting this month, as it moves ahead with using only cameras in its safety and driver-assistant 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'll save them a few dollars. I mean those things are pretty cheap," Guidehouse Insights analyst Sam Abuelsamid said, referring to ultrasonic sensors. "It'll also save them some chips."

Tesla last year started dropping radar sensors amid a chip shortage.

Chief Executive Elon Musk has said Tesla can achieve full autonomy with cameras only, but he has missed his targets to roll out self-driving taxis which require no drivers.

The automaker 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 will temporarily limit automated parking features, but not affect crash safety ratings, Tesla noted.

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

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

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

"Impact on safety of autopilot is likely small. Now impact of safety of manual parking on the other hand might be big," he said, adding that parking chimes help people avoid hitting walls and other obstacles.

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Richard Chang)

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!


Next In Tech News

UK to fine tech companies that fail to remove self-harm material
Twitter CEO Musk says user signups at all-time high, touts features of "everything app"
Zelle users have been scammed out of thousands. How to avoid being targeted on money apps
Private chef stuns TikTok with US$3,500 grocery bill for 36 items. ‘Grossly out of touch’
Opinion: How Sam Bankman-Fried exploited the ‘effective altruism’�fad to get rich and con the world
Robot pets help these US seniors make friends
NYPD officers, bystander save man who fell on subway tracks
India regulator asks One 97 Communications unit to reapply for payment aggregator licence
Mercedes-Benz criticized for hiding fast acceleration behind paywall
Catfishing cosmonauts, scamming soldiers: Never fall in love online?

Others Also Read