Tesla’s latest radar unit gets uncovered in newly unsealed FCC documents

Credit: Tesla

After months of waiting we finally have our first have a look at Tesla’s latest radar unit in newly unsealed documents from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Tesla famously decided to remove radar from the Model 3 and Model Y in mid-2021, and later the Model S and Model X, deciding to as a substitute depend on the vehicle’s on-board cameras for its safety and driver-assist features.

We now have known about this latest radar unit since last yr when documents submitted to the FCC were uncovered. The more essential documents, which contained additional details and photos of the radar unit were requested by Tesla to stay confidential until the brand new yr because the device was imagined to be “marketed” in mid-January. That date got here and went without an announcement as Tesla later requested an extra extension to March 7, 2023. Today those documents have been unsealed early and posted to the FCC website. (h/t: @ankinnyc)

In response to the documents the radar unit can be placed behind the front bumper, as illustrated on this diagram with the Model X. This is identical location because it was before Tesla decided to remove radar units in 2021.

As for the brand new radar unit itself, it’s described within the testing documents as a “non-pulsed Automotive Radar which operates within the 76-77 GHz spectrum and supports 3 sensing modes.” This implies Tesla can be using the frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) technique to estimate distances to things in close proximity to the automobile. This enables for a smaller physical size of the radar unit itself and one which uses less power and is less expensive to provide in comparison with pulsed radar units, that are commonly utilized in military applications to measure distance over for much longer distances.

Here’s what the radar unit looks like, each with and without the enclosure.

Some photos of the internals of the radar unit were also included, which shows it has 6 antennas but in accordance with the documents only 4 can transmit at the identical time, as outlined within the image below.

This paragraph is prefaced by saying we’re on no account experts in radar testing, but after reviewing the documents, it appears this radar unit is like all other automotive radar units used for adaptive cruise control systems. When it was first uncovered last yr it was billed as high resolution radar, but it surely is unclear what, if anything, makes this radar unit superior to others currently in the marketplace, even in comparison with the units Tesla used to incorporate until they decided to remove radar from their cars nearly two years ago.

What we do know is that this radar unit will form a part of Hardware 4.0 (HW4), which is anticipated to be announced in the approaching days, especially on condition that these documents have now been unsealed. We predict it to be included within the Model S and Model X at first, as Tesla has received approval to sell these cars equipped with HW4 in Europe. Tesla has also listed a whole lot of those vehicles on their existing inventory site at deep discounts in an try and clear their North American inventory before the discharge of cars with the brand new hardware.

From what we have now been told there are cars already being built at Fremont with HW4, but none have been handed over to customers yet. We now have also been told that HW4 is being tested at Giga Berlin, potentially indicating HW4 within the Model 3 and Model Y won’t be too far behind.

We also know that HW4 won’t have the option to be retrofitted to cars equipped with the present HW3 as a teardown shows the brand new HW4 has additional camera inputs, purported to be for brand new cameras on the front and rear bumpers.

You may read through the entire documents here. If any of our readers are radar experts, please tell us what you make of it within the comments below or email us at suggestions@driveteslacanada.ca.

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