This week, Tesla announced that it will stop installing ultrasonic sensors on the Model 3 and Model Y in the coming months. Then in 2023, the company will stop installing this option in the Model S and Model X.
Ultrasonic sensors are another tool that Tesla used to perceive the world around him. This part was mainly used for near-range detection to help with collision warning and parking.
“Tesla writes that, as in the case of its previous radar sensors, the role of their ultrasonic sensors will be transferred to a complex of cameras. The branded “Vision-based Presence Network”, which is currently being used in the beta version of FSD, will replace ultrasonic sensors.”
However, before this transition, cars that are not equipped with ultrasonic sensors will be delivered without such functions as parking assistants and the Smart Summon function, which allows the car to go to the specified point or to the owner on its own. Tesla says it will add these features back via a wireless upgrade once they “reach parity with today’s cars.”
The move follows a similar decision announced in 2021 when the transition to using cameras as the only sensors for autopilot and FSD began. This drew criticism from experts in the field of automated driving research, who argued that a comparison between human eyes and cameras is impossible. In their opinion, ADAS systems require several sensors to correctly perceive the road.
In its release, Tesla claimed that its ADAS systems based on Tesla Vision have maintained or improved their safety ratings. However, the transition to the system coincided with a sharp spike in reports of “phantom braking” — a dangerous scenario in which the driver assistance system fails and starts an emergency stop for no reason. They cause alarm to drivers and can be dangerous for vehicles following them.