Tesla Model Y has a heated radar to winter-proof Autopilot

(Credit: Tesla)

The Tesla Model Y is proving to be a vehicle that is full of tricks, especially when it comes to winter driving. If recent reports from the Tesla community are any indication, the all-electric crossover is equipped with a radar heater, which should help the vehicle navigate icy roads without disengaging driver-assist features like Autopilot.

References to the Model Y’s radar heater were shared with the Tesla community by resident hacker-enthusiast @greentheonly, who discovered the new feature in the crossover’s wiring diagrams. The supplier of the radar and the model number of the actual part used in the Model Y remains unknown, but the presence of the heating unit does bode well for the vehicle’s Autopilot performance in icy conditions.

Tesla’s electric cars like the Model S, Model X, and Model 3 are great winter cars, thanks to their all-electric construction and design. That said, Tesla’s vehicles do have areas of improvement, especially when it comes to their cameras and radar, as both parts could be compromised when they get caked by a layer of ice or snow. 

This is something that is experienced by Tesla community members such as Model 3 owner Chris from the Dirty Tesla YouTube channel, who lives in an area that experiences harsh winters. As could be seen in several of the YouTube host’s Autopilot tests, Tesla’s advanced driver-assist features, or even basic cruise control, can get disabled once the cameras or radar are covered in ice. 

Such instances would be far less likely with the Model Y’s radar heater in place. In a way, its addition is something that seems to have been planned by the electric car maker, as Elon Musk referenced radar heaters back in late 2018. Musk noted that while Teslas will primarily operate on a vision-only system, a radar heater would be a good idea anyway. As it turned out, Tesla was only looking to equip the new component in its next vehicle. The company has just been very discreet about it. 

It is pertinent for Tesla to ensure that Autopilot and more advanced Full Self-Driving features such as Navigate on Autopilot with automatic lane changes could function in any type of weather. Tesla, after all, intends to roll out a dedicated Robotaxi network that utilizes self-driving vehicles with need no human drivers. For the service to be fully operational, the company must be able to ensure that its cars can drive even in the iciest of conditions. 

The Tesla Model Y is looking to be Tesla’s best vehicle for winter driving to date. Apart from its radar heater, the Model Y is also equipped with a new heat pump system, which is expected to reduce range reductions during winters. 

Tesla Model Y has a heated radar to winter-proof Autopilot
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