Tesla kills radar as Model 3, Model Y move to camera-based tech

Moving forward, the Model 3 and Model Y EVs will go all-in on "Tesla Vision."

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
Tesla Model Y
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Tesla Model Y

No radar for you.


Radar  is out at . The company said in a brief support update published Tuesday it will no longer build the Model 3 and Model Y EVs with radar as it focuses on the company's camera-based Tesla Vision technology for driver-assist systems. Backing the cameras is what the automaker calls "neural net processing" to help give Tesla vehicles the smarts necessary to execute functions.

As is often the case with these big shifts with Tesla vehicles, owners will essentially play the role of beta testers. The company said anyone taking delivery of a Model 3 or Model Y this month and beyond will receive a car with limited access to Tesla Vision functions. That includes Autosteer and Smart Summon. The former will only work at speeds up to 75 mph and requires a longer following distance, while the latter may be entirely disabled. 

While Tesla collects data from drivers, it will restore functions bit by bit via over-the-air updates. However, all other other Autopilot and Full Self-Driving beta (a Level 2 driver-assist function) features will be accessible at the time of delivery. Of note, the Model 3 and Model Y vehicles built for other countries outside of North America will continue to feature radar. The Model S and Model X will also continue to use radar. Tesla said the 3 and Y provide the company the best scale to test camera-only-based functions, so the S and X won't see the same changes. At least not yet.

This news is intriguing, especially after we just spotted a Model Y running lidar. While it's not radar, lidar has long been a punching bag of CEO  Elon Musk , who wants to achieve an autonomous car without loads of extra gear onboard. Tesla is the only automaker pursuing this route, while lidar essentially remains the go-to for all other major players like Waymo, Cruise and more.

Tesla Model 3 remains the gold standard for electric sedans

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