A Tesla Model 3 used for test drives in Poland has been found displaying distances without ultrasonic sensors (USS). The possible owner who did the test drive of the Model 3 without USS noticed it was detecting distances and snapped a photograph. Tesla replaces demo vehicles every three months, which suggests that this vehicle would not have ultrasonic sensors. The odometer within the photo shows that this vehicle only has 2,800km. The driving force also provided the VIN to the vehicle which confirmed it was a 2023 Model 3.
We previously reported on a video shared by Occupy Mars of their salvaged 2018 Tesla Model 3 detecting distances without USS. Within the 10.5-minute video, Occupy Mars shows the vehicle displaying distances from objects with its USS and radar sensor unplugged. The Model 3 was running version 2022.28.2, which was released in September 2022.
Occupy Mars’ Model 3 only detected distances while in reverse, despite a big portion of the automotive having been taken apart. They further tested their findings by covering up the front-facing and B-pillar cameras with tape. Once the cameras were covered, the vehicle immediately stopped displaying distances and arcs from nearby objects.
Tesla Vision May Be Close
Based on Occupy Mars’ video and now this demo vehicle, an update to display distances to close-by objects could also be arriving soon.
We do not know what software version this latest vehicle was on, nevertheless it’s unlikely that it was running an internal construct. The vehicle can have been on latest factory firmware, which Teslas are often delivered with. Tesla could even have a configuration that permits this latest feature, and which will have been enabled on this vehicle.
Will Ultrasonic Sensors Stop Working On Current Vehicles?
We do not know if Tesla will eventually transition vehicles that include USS to its vision system, but that’s unlikely to occur soon. As an alternative, Tesla may proceed to make use of the information from ultrasonic sensors to proceed to enhance their vision system. If there are any plans to transition to vision only, Tesla will hopefully wait until the brand new detection is on-par or higher than what ultrasonic sensors provide.
When Tesla launched Tesla Vision for vehicles without radar in 2021, it didn’t transition vehicles with radar until greater than a yr later. An identical transition could occur with ultrasonic sensors as Tesla’s vision substitute improves.
If Tesla continues to enhance its substitute for USS, Tesla Vision may eventually exceed the capabilities that ultrasonic sensors provide today – not less than in some areas. One area where this might occur is with additional coverage across the vehicle. All Teslas, aside from the Model X, which also has sensors on its doors, include ultrasonic sensors only within the front and rear of the vehicle. With vision, Tesla can theoretically increase its coverage to a full 360 degrees, letting the vehicle detect and display distances to the side as well.