Tesla states it will start to remove ultrasonic sensors from its electric vehicles this month as it proceeds with using only cameras in its safety and driver-assistance features.
Tesla EVs now have 12 ultrasonic sensors on the front and rear bumpers. Short-range sound sensors are mainly used in parking applications and to detect close objects.
To recall, Tesla last year started dropping radar sensors amid a chip shortage. According to Elon Musk, the company can achieve full autonomy with cameras only, but he has missed his target to roll out self-driving taxis, which require no drivers.
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Tesla faces growing public, regulatory, and legal scrutiny over its Autopilot system following crashes. The company said it would remove ultrasonic sensors from Model Y and Model 3 globally over the next few months. It will be followed by Model X and Model S in 2023.
The transition would temporarily limit automated parking features but not affect crash safety ratings, notes Tesla. While self-driving automakers and tech firms use multiple sensors like expensive lidars, Tesla relies only on artificial intelligence and cameras to help a vehicle recognize the environment.
Philip Koopman, Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, said that now the question is how well the cameras can see nearby its surroundings, which sometimes can be limited.