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Tesla Seen Detecting Distances Without Ultrasonic Sensors - Why This Matters

There is a Model 3 that was found detecting distances without ultrasonic sensors - why this is a big deal.


Tesla Vision Detection Without Sensors

It appears that on some select Tesla models that they rolled out using vision only for the detection of distances. Many people are saying that they don't have this feature, and this is most likely due to a very small and specialized rollout for Tesla to do testing.

This is for a new Tesla Model 3 from 2023 doing test drives in Poland. The owner snapped a photo when he found that the software was detecting distances with just vision. If you recall, Tesla has removed ultrasonic sensors and the Model Y from 2022 and 2023 reflect this change - as well as all Tesla vehicles.

It was verified that this was indeed a 2023 Model Y as the owner showed the odometer at 2,800 km and a VIN that confirmed it. There was also a video from a Tesla owner who had a 2018 Model 3 detecting distances without USS. In that video, the vehicle showed objects with its sensors and radar systems unplugged.

This particular video only showed distances in reverse. Further testing revealed that by covering up the B-pillar cameras with tape, the vehicle immediately stopped displaying distances and arcs from any objects that were close to the vehicle.

This gives hope that Tesla will roll out its vision only system for object detection and parking assistance. This is something Tesla owners have been waiting for patiently.

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Tesla Removed Ultrasonic Sensors

One of the questions that people are asking is if the ultrasonic sensors on existing vehicles will just stop working one day and be dead weight on the car. Tesla is unlikely to do this anytime soon for several reasons.

The first is that the vision only parking and object detection is not ready. Tesla would not release this feature unless it was tested and proven. Tesla will most likely continue to collect data from the ultrasonic sensors and use that to improve their vision only system.

I think Tesla should wait until parity is proved between vision and the ultrasonic sensors. At that point, Tesla could enable vision only - even on vehicles that have the ultrasonic sensors already. Elon Musk has said that vision being a single source of input is a big key as well to avoid confusion in the software. In fact, the Cybertruck will have improved cameras and hardware to enable this.

The good news for those that are patient is that the vision system will most likely surpass the capability of the ultrasonic sensors in some areas. The first is that the 8 cameras can provide an all encompassing view around the car, which will give coverage and detection as a bubble around the entire vehicle and not just the front or back like it is right now.

I'm looking forward to a 360 degree coverage of object and collision detection. Tesla will eventually get there - it is going to have to get there for FSD to get to wide release and for the parking assist feature to be restored using just vision. Let's hope it is sooner, rather than later.

When do you think Tesla's vision only system will completely replace its ultrasonic sensors?

In Related News: Tesla not opening a Giga factory in Mexico yet

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Jeremy Johnson is a Tesla investor and supporter. He first invested in Tesla in 2017 after years of following Elon Musk and admiring his work ethic and intelligence. Since then, he's become a Tesla bull, covering anything about Tesla he can find, while also dabbling in other electric vehicle companies. Jeremy covers Tesla developments at Torque News. You can follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn to stay in touch and follow his Tesla news coverage on Torque News.

Image Credit, Tesla, Screenshot