Tesla has updated its Service Manuals for the Model S and Model X, indicating that the automaker installed a “dummy camera” in its forward-facing bi-camera.
Early looks at Hardware 4 showed Tesla was going to update the vehicles with an additional camera and perhaps the reintroduction of some sort of radar, which was referenced as “Phoenix” in early reports.
Hardware 4, or HW4 for short, was the company’s first venture into a serious trek into a vision-based self-driving suite, which would be basically fully reliant on cameras and nothing else. CEO Elon Musk once referred to radar as “a crutch” to accomplish what it need to, but ultimately, Tesla would eventually have to do away with it.
Upon further inspection of the newly updated service manuals, it appears that Tesla has actually installed a “dummy camera” for some reason.
Tesla writes in its manual (via Sawyer Merritt):
“The bi-camera assembly has cutouts for 3 camera lens assemblies, but one of the cutouts is populated with a dummy camera.”
The details were revealed in a portion of the Service Manual that shows how the cameras and windshield can be cleaned.
In Hardware 3 (HW3) vehicles, Tesla utilized a Tri-Foward Facing Camera, meaning three cameras were used previously.
HW4 is relatively new, so there are not many details on why Tesla might do this. Granted, Tesla has been one company that does most of its work through software, and most information on early releases is found through leaks, or hackers, like greentheonly, who uncovered the first HW4 images.
Previously, three cameras were needed for the self-driving computer. However, HW4 offers higher-resolution images of the vehicle’s surroundings, so it could be simply a “filler” for a void hole that isn’t needed any longer. New camera resolutions are 5 megapixels, with previous cameras giving only 1.2.
Tesla started placing HW4 in vehicles recently, with the first deliveries beginning just a few days ago.
Unfortunately, HW3 drivers will not be able to retrofit their vehicles with the new HW4 capabilities, Tesla said. Musk detailed the decision during the company’s most recent earnings call when he said that “the cost and difficulty of retrofitting Hardware 3 with Hardware 4 is quite significant. So it would not be, I think, economically feasible to do so.”
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