Tesla files to use a new radar and everyone is confused

Tesla has filed to use a new radar in its electric vehicles, and everyone is confused since Elon Musk has made it clear that Tesla plans to achieve self-driving with camera-based vision only.

After years of using a suite of sensors that included both cameras and a radar, Tesla announced a transition to its “Tesla Vision” system without radar and only using cameras and neural nets.

The idea is based on the fact that the current road system is designed to work for human drivers who operate vehicles using their vision (eyes) and their brain (neural nets). Tesla believes that it can build a system safer than human drivers by replacing eyes with cameras and the brain by its silicon-powered neural nets.

Musk told Electrek in June of last year after Tesla stopped using its radar:

The probability of safety will be higher with pure vision than vision+radar, not lower. Vision has become so good that radar actually reduces signal/noise.

However, the CEO also added that Tesla might still use radar if it had a “very high resolution radar”:

A very high resolution radar would be better than pure vision, but such a radar does not exist. I mean vision with high res radar would be better than pure vision.

We saw some indications of Tesla working on that. We previously reported on Tesla looking to add a new “4D” imaging radar with twice the range of its previous radar.

Now the automaker has actually filed with the FCC to use a new radar in its vehicles:

Tesla hacker Green, who has followed Tesla’s test of new radar, has noted that the radar uses a frequency in line with Tesla’s previous front-facing radar, which would point to a similar use.

The move has some Tesla owners who bought Tesla’s Full Self-Driving worried that their vision-based system is now not going to be enough if Tesla decides to add new hardware.

Since 2016, Tesla has claimed that all its vehicles produced are equipped with all the hardware necessary to achieve self-driving capability in the future through software updates.

It turned out to be not true as Tesla needed to upgrade the onboard computer. Now they are also concerned about some of the older cameras inside the vehicles, and as we learn today, a new radar might be added to the list.

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