Tesla’s Autopilot gets a big boost with this update, but that’s not necessarily good news

That’s it, Tesla is starting its transition with Autopilot autonomous driving by cameras (Tesla Vision) instead of radars, which are less restrictive for the driver.

Tesla Model S Poster

Before May 2021, all Teslas equipped with Autopilot (Tesla’s level 2 autonomous driving) used radars and cameras, placed all around the car, to locate themselves and move around. American Teslas produced since May 2021 no longer use their radar, but only the cameras, what the American firm calls Tesla Vision. In Europe and France, this is also the case, but only for cars produced from May 2022. A new step has just been taken in the removal of speed cameras in favor of cameras.

Speed ​​cameras disabled for older Teslas

As the site notes Not a Tesla App, the new 2022.20.9 update activates Tesla Vision technology on older brand cars that have radars. However, it would seem that this novelty does not concern the entire fleet Model 3, Model Y, Model S and Model X from the Texas manufacturer. Tesla could thus update a small part of the existing fleet in order to analyze the feedback and compare the differences between autonomous driving by radar and by cameras.

Two constraints for the driver

In practice, what does the transition from radar to cameras change? For the moment, it seems that it is rather a regression for the drivers. Disabling speed cameras reduces the maximum speed in autonomous driving at 140 km/h instead of 150 km/h with the old system. Furthermore, the minimum distance to the previous car in the lane is increasedto 2 (on a scale of 7) instead of 1 with radars.

In the facts, it’s not necessarily problematic since the speed is very often limited to 120 or 130 km/h on motorways in Europe, except on certain German motorway sections. But the minimum distance set to 1 is quite practical in traffic jams to avoid leaving too much space with the previous car.

Tesla Vision: better than speed cameras?

However, this criticism of the Autopilot with Tesla Vision must be qualified. According to data collected by Elon Musk’s firm for several months, Tesla Vision would be safer than autonomous driving by radars. We imagine that the American manufacturer simply compared the incidents and accidents with and without Tesla Vision.

In addition, it should be noted that the activation of the FSD (Full Self Driving), in beta in the United States, deactivates the radars and relies only on the cameras of the electric car to analyze its environment. FSD is a much more advanced form of autonomous driving than Autopilot, since able to move independently in the city. It is therefore Tesla Vision which should make it possible to reach the higher levels of autonomous driving.

Finally, it should be noted that the Tesla Vision technology should evolve further, since when it was launched the maximum speed was limited to 120 km/h and the minimum distance to 3.

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