By Hyunjoo Jin
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Tesla will remove ultrasonic sensors from its cars starting this month and use only cameras in safety and driver assistance systems.
Tesla cars currently have 12 ultrasonic sensors on the front and rear bumpers. Sensors are mainly used in parking tasks and in detecting nearby objects.
“It will save you a few dollars. These things are pretty cheap,” said Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Guidehouse Insights, referring to ultrasonic sensors.
Tesla began last year to stop equipping its cars with radar sensors because of a shortage of electronics in the industry.
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk has said the company may be able to achieve full range of vehicles with just cameras, but the company has missed launch deadlines for fully autonomous cars.
At the same time, the automaker has faced increasing scrutiny from authorities over the Autopilot system after accidents involving the brand’s cars.
Tesla has said it wants to remove ultrasonic sensors from the Model 3 and Model Y in the coming months, including the Model S and Model X by 2023.
The transition will temporarily limit automated parking capabilities but will not affect crash safety, Tesla said.
While self-driving technology companies and automakers use multiple sensors such as lidars, Tesla relies solely on cameras and artificial intelligence to make its vehicles recognize their surroundings.
“The question is how well cameras can see a nearby car, which is sometimes limited,” said Philip Koopman, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University.
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