By Hyunjoo Jin
BERKELEY, Calif. (Reuters) -Tesla Inc said on Tuesday its Model 3 and Model Y vehicles will be equipped with cameras and no radar sensor for semi-automated driving in North America starting this month.
“These will be the first Tesla vehicles to rely on camera vision and neural net processing to deliver Autopilot, Full-Self Driving and certain active safety features,” Tesla said in a statement.
Tesla’s approach helped reduced costs and commercialize its driver assistant features, but experts and other companies have raised safety concerns.
Tesla said the transition to a camera-focused system may result in limitations of some of its driver-assistant features such as lane-centering and parking assistance.
All new Model S and Model X cars, as well as all vehicles built for markets outside North America, will still be equipped with a radar, Tesla said.
Tesla’s driver assistance system, which enables cars to center in lanes and maintain distance between vehicles, consists of eight surround cameras, complemented by a front-facing radar and 12 ultrasonic sensors. A radar sensor uses radio sensors to detect distance from objects.
In October, Tesla rolled out a beta version of its FSD system to a limited number of people, enabling cars to navigate on city streets in semi-autonomous mode as well as highways. A wider launch has been delayed.
In March, Tesla told California regulators it might not achieve full self-driving technology by the end of 2021. Tesla is offering a driver assistant, level-2 technology that does not make its cars autonomous.
(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in Berkeley, Calif.Editing by Chris Reese, Matthew Lewis and Richard Chang)