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Tesla shifts Autopilot in Model 3, Model Y from radar to optical cameras

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Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) plans to move its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving systems from radar to optical cameras as it pushes its autonomous vehicle efforts forward. The automaker made the announcement in a blog post on Wednesday.

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Tesla Shifts Autopilot To Optical Cameras

Some of the vehicles delivered this month are the first to include what the automaker calls "Tesla Vision," which is basically just a branded way of saying that they're ditching radar in favor of cameras. The new system will be in Model 3 and Model Y vehicles built for North America.

They will be the first Tesla vehicles to use camera vision and neural net processing instead of radar for Autopilot, Full Self-Driving and some active safety features. The automaker said customers who ordered before this month and have been matched to a vehicle equipped with Tesla Vision would be notified of the change before delivery via their Tesla accounts.

Model S and Model X vehicles and those built for markets outside North America will still be equipped with radar for Autopilot until Tesla decides when to move those vehicles to Tesla Vision.

In a frequently asked question about why the Model S and Model X won't be transitioned to Tesla Vision yet, the automaker said the Model 3 and Model & are its higher-volume vehicles. It added that moving them to Tesla Vision first enables them to "analyze a large volume of real-world data in a short amount of time, which ultimately speeds up the roll-out of features based on Tesla Vision."

Some Features To Be Inactive On Delivery

Tesla said that some of the vehicles with the new system might be delivered with some features inactive or limited temporarily. The features that could be restricted at first include Autosteer, which will be limited to a maximum speed of 75 miles per hour with a longer minimum following distance.

Vehicles with Smart Summon will arrive with the feature temporarily disabled. Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance may also be inactive at the time of delivery. Tesla will begin restoring the features to the vehicles through a number of over-the-air software updates. All other Full Self-Driving and Autopilot features will be active upon delivery, depending on the configuration of the order.

According to Reuters, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is not labeling the new vehicles as having forward collision warning, crash imminent braking, lake departure warning, dynamic brake support, and other safety features. However, it also said Tesla notified the NHTSA about the change and maintained its five-star safety ratings for crashes and rollovers.

Tesla is part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies managed by their founders or their founders' families.

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