Tesla has announced that it will transition the Model S sedan and Model X SUV to Pure Vision, officially committing to a camera-based approach for its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving suites.
In May 2021, Tesla announced that all Model 3 and Model Y vehicles delivered from that month on would no longer equip radar. Instead, the vehicles would utilize Tesla’s “Pure Vision” approach, which only uses its eight external cameras to perform semi-autonomous driving functions.
“Starting with deliveries in May 2021, Model 3 and Model Y vehicles built for the North American market will be optimized for Tesla Vision and will not be equipped with radar. If you ordered a car before May and will receive a car that is not equipped with radar, you will be notified of the change in your Tesla Account prior to delivery,” the automaker said in a blog post last year.
Tesla did not announce when it would transition Model S and Model X vehicles to Pure Vision and focused on making the Model 3 and Model Y void of radar first because of its mass-market appeal. The Model 3 and Model Y are sold on a much larger scale than the S and X, allowing Tesla to acquire large data sets in a short period. Tesla said it would determine an appropriate time to introduce Pure Vision to the Model S and Model X.
Tesla officially announced on its “Transitioning to Tesla Vision” webpage last night that all Model S and Model X vehicles built from mid-February on would only equip Pure Vision, and no longer would utilize any radar to perform its functionalities. “As of mid-February 2022, all Model S and Model X built for the North American market utilize Tesla Vision. All Model S and Model X built for the North American market prior are equipped with radar,” Tesla said.
Tesla said that some functions may not be available on vehicles utilizing Pure Vision. Currently, Autosteer will be limited to a top speed of 80 MPH and will have a longer-than-usual following distance. “In the weeks ahead, we’ll start restoring these features via a series of over-the-air software updates. All other available Autopilot and Full Self-Driving features will be active at delivery, depending on order configuration,” Tesla said.
The move finalizes Tesla’s move to a vision-based approach, something Musk has been determined to accomplish for some time. During the Q1 2021 Earnings Call last year, Musk said there is no need for radar, as a human uses only vision to drive. A vehicle can also depend on vision only, according to Musk:
“When your vision works, it works better than the best human because it’s like having eight cameras, it’s like having eyes in the back of your head, beside your head, and has three eyes of different focal distances looking forward. This is — and processing it at a speed that is superhuman. There’s no question in my mind that with a pure vision solution, we can make a car that is dramatically safer than the average person,” Musk said.
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