Tesla announced on Wednesday that it is ditching another set of sensors from its electric cars. The latest victim? Ultrasonic sensors, usually built into the bumpers, that enable the use of parking assist functions.
At first, it will only be the Model 3 and Y, which rely solely on cameras for the full range of driver aids Tesla offers. However, the automaker says that once the change is rolled out globally, it will do the same for the S and X models in 2023.
Tesla says that despite ditching radar for adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking, which now rely solely on cameras, its vehicles have “maintained or improved their active safety ratings in the US and Europe and perform better with automatic emergency braking of pedestrians (AEB) intervention”.
However, the automaker is shying away from saying it has removed radar from its electric vehicles led to an ongoing investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration into hundreds of cases of phantom braking— essentially, false-positive activations of the automatic emergency braking system of cars.
Tesla says the performance of its systems will improve over time and that the Model 3 and Model Y, which come without ultrasonic sensors, will not have park assist, self-parking, call or smart call. Tesla says these features will be restored once its vision-only system reaches parity with the older ultrasonic sensors.