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Tesla Model Y is equipped with a radar heater to weather-proof Autopilot/Self-Driving

Tesla Model Y wiring schematics reveal that the electric SUV is equipped with a radar heater to weather-proof Autopilot and its future self-driving capability.

One of the most common arguments against self-driving is that a computer won’t be able to handle different weather conditions as well as humans, like heavy snow.

Not only is driving more difficult due to visibility and road conditions, but the weather can also obstruct the sensors.

Tesla has been installing heaters on its Autopilot cameras in order to melt any accumulation of snow that could affect its view, but the radar located in the front-end of its cars wasn’t equipped with a heater and it would often get obstructed by snow or ice.

Since Tesla started Model Y deliveries earlier this month, we have been trying to identify more differences with the Model 3, which is built on the same platform.

Tesla hacker ‘green’ has obtained some wiring schematics for the Model Y and found that the new electric SUV is actually equipped with a radar heater:

Back in 2018, CEO Elon Musk was asked if Tesla plans to add a radar heater to its Autopilot 2.0 suite and he answered that Tesla doesn’t plan to rely on radar long-term, but it might still add a heater.

“Long-term, the car will work purely on vision, with radar just a plus, but maybe worth adding a radar heater anyway.”

Now it looks like they waited for the Model Y to add one.

Electrek’s Take

I don’t like the argument that a computer won’t be able to handle different weather conditions, like heavy snow, as well as humans, and therefore, self-driving won’t work.

First off, humans are not that good at driving in the snow so the bar is really not that high.

As for the visibility issue, it’s an issue for humans too. We have devices to help us clear our field of view from snow, like windshield wipers and a snow brush.

These same devices are going to be used to clear the field of view of most self-driving sensors, like the ones that look at the windshield.

As for the others, like the Autopilot cameras in B-pillars, that’s where heaters, like this new one for the radar, come into play. I would also argue that some hydrophobic coating could also help.

Either way, I think we are going to have plenty of solutions to this problem.

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