Tesla Vision: Autopilot safety features still active, NHTSA, IIHS to retest soon

(Photo: Andres GE)

Tesla Autopilot safety features are still active in Model 3 and Model Y vehicles that have been manufactured without radar, the automaker said on its website.

On Tuesday, Tesla announced that Model 3 and Model Y vehicles manufactured from May 2021 would no longer equip the radar systems that were utilized by the Autopilot and Full Self-Driving suites. Instead, Tesla will rely on its camera-based approach, which it is calling “Tesla Vision.” The Model S and Model X will still equip radar for a short period, but Tesla plans to eventually transition these two vehicles to a camera-based system as well.

In its announcement earlier this week, Tesla said that Autosteer would be limited to a maximum speed of 75 MPH and a longer mandatory following distance. Meanwhile, Smart Summon and Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance “may be disabled at delivery.”

Earlier this week, the NHTSA updated its website to reflect the fact that Tesla would no longer have several active safety features, but in fact, they are still active. Tesla says that neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has rated vehicles equipped with Tesla Vision, but the agencies will perform a retest in the coming weeks, according to an update to its Tesla Vision page.

Now, Tesla has also added a table to its website to reflect what features are still active with Tesla Vision-only cars, comparing the features to vehicles that still have radar included.

The automaker wrote:

“The following standard features are available upon delivery on vehicles equipped with radar or Tesla Vision. Asterisked features only mean that NHTSA or IIHS have not yet rated them for vehicles equipped with Tesla Vision. We expect those ratings will be restored through confirmatory testing in the coming weeks.”

Credit: Tesla

As you can see, all of the standard safety features are still active. The NHTSA and IIHS need to retest Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, and Lane Departure Warning/Avoidance. Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance is listed as “Coming Soon.”

Teslarati reached out to the NHTSA for a statement regarding when the confirmatory testing would occur but hasn’t received a response yet.

Tesla has long worked toward eliminating radar from its cars, instead aiming to use a camera-based approach for its self-driving systems. According to Musk, having Tesla’s eight external cameras navigate the road is a much better option because having the camera and radar try to coexist causes some issues with how accurate the vehicle can navigate.

“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 during the Q1 2021 Earnings Call.

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Tesla Vision: Autopilot safety features still active, NHTSA, IIHS to retest soon
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