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Does Tesla back down? The patent of a radar for the Autopilot raises many doubts

Until now, Elon Musk’s intention was to develop his autonomous driving system based solely on the system TeslaVision, which uses only the cameras and the data neural network and dispenses with the LiDAR laser radar. A decision that contrasts with that of the rest of the manufacturers, who consider it essential. As of May 2021, Tesla announced that Model 3 and Model Y would not have the radar for the Autopilot system, confirming that all autonomous driving work would depend on the cameras and the neural network that feed their data. However, this strategy may undergo a radical change after Tesla has filed in the United States Patent Office an application including a new speed camera.

After removing the radars in Model 3 and Model Y, Tesla confirmed what Elon Musk has stated on numerous occasions and which has been the result of discussions among experts: high-resolution cameras are more effective at mapping a car’s surroundings than speed cameras.

This conviction seemed even greater with the incorporation to the FSD system (Full Self Driving) of new high-resolution cameras. According to the South Korean newspaper The Korea Economic DailyTesla would have signed a multimillion-dollar contract with Samsung to obtain a new generation of 4.0 cameras, with a resolution of 5 million pixels that provide images five times clearer than 3.0.

The implementation of these new cameras represents a significant advance with respect to the ones currently used, which have a resolution of 1.2 megapixels. Production of this new generation of cameras will start next month. Tesla will begin to incorporate them in the units of all its models when it begins to receive them. It is not clear if those customers who have paid the price of the FSD (which currently costs 11,300 euros in Spain), will have to go through the workshop to replace their cameras.

To this concern of its customers is now added the new Tesla patent involving the incorporation of a radar that would render obsolete the system that studies the environment of the car only using high-resolution cameras. The image of the patent with the incorporation of the radar has appeared on the social network Twitter.

Replacing the 3.0 generation cameras with the 4.0 generation ones involves a visit to the workshop to change the physical element, although it should not involve a radical change in the software. This would only have more precise data to draw the environment and make decisions with a greater degree of security. In the case of implementing a radar, it is not only necessary to include new hardware in the car that must be connected to the system, but it would also imply a more important change in the software that manages the Autopilot. Although this could be received by OTA in all vehicles, as the Californian firm usually does, there is no doubt that this generates some uncertainty among those who already believed that they had a system that in the future would take them to full autonomous driving.

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