Tesla is removing ultrasonic sensors from all of its vehicles, fully transitioning to Tesla Vision

By Lennon Cihak
Tesla is switching to Tesla Vision, removing ultrasonic sensors
Tesla is switching to Tesla Vision, removing ultrasonic sensors
Not a Tesla App

Tesla made a major announcement today that beginning in October 2022, they will no longer be building vehicles with ultrasonic sensors (USS). This comes after the automotive company announced it was removing radar from its vehicles.

Tesla removed radar from Model 3 and Model Y vehicles back in 2021, and Model S and Model X vehicles in 2022. According to the announcement, “in most regions around the globe these vehicles now rely on Tesla Vision, our camera-based Autopilot system.”

The Austin-based company’s announcement adds that it is going to continue with its rollout of removing the USS with the Model 3 and Model Y vehicles this year, and the Model S and Model X cars will follow in 2023.

Since the removal of radar, Tesla has made significant improvements to its software to enable its advanced driver-assistance features (ADAS). This includes its vision-based occupancy network, which Full Self-Driving Beta relies on. The occupancy network will replace inputs that are generated by USS, per Tesla’s announcement.

“With today’s software, this approach gives Autopilot high-definition spatial positioning, longer range visibility and ability to identify and differentiate between objects,” reads the post. “As with many Tesla features, our occupancy network will continue to improve rapidly over time.”

However, a certain number of features will be unavailable as Tesla forges ahead with this transition to Tesla Vision. These features include Park Assist, Autopark, Smart Summon, and Summon.

Once the features become updated and improved by the Tesla team, they’ll be rolled out via over-the-air software updates. Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot, and Full Self-Driving will be active upon delivery, depending on your order configuration.

“In the near future, once these features achieve performance parity to today’s vehicles, they will be restored via a series of over-the-air software updates,” reads Tesla’s post. “All other available Autopilot, Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving capability features will be active at delivery, depending on order configuration.

According to Tesla's FAQ, they do not plan to stop using ultrasonic sensors in vehicles that already have them, although they do preface this by saying 'at this time'. It's possible that Tesla may choose to turn off ultrasonic sensors in vehicles if vision can perform as well or better than the current sensors.

Features * Equipped with USS Not equipped with USS
Forward Collision Warning
Automatic Emergency Braking
Lane Departure Warning / Avoidance
Emergency Lane Departure Avoidance
Pedal Misapplication Mitigation
Auto High Beam
Autowiper
Blind Spot Collision Warning Chime
AutoSteer †
Auto Lane Changes
Navigate on Autopilot
Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control
Park Assist Coming soon
Autopark Coming soon
Summon Coming soon
Smart Summon Coming soon

*Features listed are reflective of availability in North America. Features vary based on region and purchased Autopilot package.

†Autosteer maintains its 85 mph top speed, which is the same as Tesla Vision vehicles equipped with USS.

“Given the incremental improvements already achieved with Tesla Vision, and our roadmap of future Autopilot improvements and abilities, we are confident that this is the best strategy for the future of Autopilot and the safety of our customers.”

Tesla FSD Beta v12 Auto Parks, Completes U-Turns, But Removes Traffic-Aware Cruise Control Ability

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla has released FSD Beta v12 to some customers
Tesla has released FSD Beta v12 to some customers

Tesla's FSD Beta version 12.2.1, update 2023.44.30.20, recently started going out to some owners, which resulted in more videos posted on X. There are several examples of amazing technology at work, but also evidence that more work is needed.

Ashok Elluswamy, Tesla's Director of Autopilot Software, recently highlighted the sophistication of FSD Beta v12 on X, emphasizing how the system's end-to-end approach is tackling complex driving scenarios with remarkable ease. His response came to a video of FSD maneuvering around a large puddle.

FSD V12 Does U-Turns

One of the standout features of FSD Beta v12 is its ability to execute U-turns seamlessly when required by the route. This is where real-world examples show the good and the bad of this highly advanced maneuver come into play. X user AI DRIVR, an account posting several high-quality videos of V12.2.1 in action, demonstrates a flawless U-turn.

Unfortunately, not all U-turns posted on X are as pretty; Randolph Kim has been experimenting with several scenarios. While later videos showed better behavior with u-turns and roundabouts, the earlier attempts had to be disengaged.

Parking Mode / First Glimpse at Park Seek

During our first glimpse of FSD v12 during Musk’s livestream, we noticed a new behavior when the vehicle reached its destination. Instead of just stopping, the vehicle now pulled over to the side of the road. However, it looks like the newest release goes one step further.

In a video by ArthurFromX, the vehicle is navigating to a parking lot. Not only does the vehicle successfully navigate to the parking lot, but it hunts around for a spot and then successfully parks without any additional instructions.

This could be our first glimpse at Tesla’s upcoming Park Seek feature that will eventually let the vehicle drop you off at the door and then go park itself.

Return of the Snapshot Button

Tesla appears to have reintroduced the Snapshot button in this update, at least to some owners. The snapshot button allows drivers to send additional information to Tesla regarding Autopilot's performance. This feature and the existing voice command feedback option provide Tesla with invaluable data to improve the FSD system further.

Automatic Speed Offset

Another noteworthy addition is the Automatic Set Speed Offset feature, which grants the vehicle autonomy to adjust its speed based on factors such as road type, traffic flow, and environmental conditions. The video below shows this feature in action. The feature is turned off by default and it currently only applies to street-level roads, but it’s a shift toward more human-like behavior for FSD Beta.

TACC is No Longer Accessible

Recently, Tesla revised the Autopilot activation method to avoid confusion and offered drivers two choices — a single pull of the stalk to enable FSD Beta or the traditional two taps. However, with FSD Beta v12, drivers are now required to use the single pull method to activate Autopilot.

Traffic-Aware Cruise Control (TACC) has traditionally been one pull of the stalk and Autopilot two pulls, but with the new single-pull method to activate Autopilot, TACC becomes unavailable. This hasn’t been a big deal until the release of FSD v12. With v12 Tesla is now requiring FSD Beta to use the single tap activation method.

This means that if a driver chooses to use FSD Beta, then TACC is no longer accessible. The only way to enable it is to go into Controls > Autopilot and turn off FSD Beta and instead choose Autosteer (or TACC). However, if you wish to enable FSD Beta again later, then it requires the vehicle to be in Park. Switching between Autosteer and FSD Beta isn’t practical for drivers. For those who rely on TACC, this issue could be a significant disadvantage in this release.

Update 2023.44.30.20

FSD 12.2.1
Installed on 0% of vehicles
0 Installs today
Last updated: Feb 24, 6:00 am

Several drivers have praised FSD Beta v12’s ability to navigate complex situations, better decision-making, and smoother behavior. However, as with any cutting-edge technology, there have been instances where the system's responses have room for improvement, highlighting the importance of its continued development.

Tesla Targets Sentry Mode Vampire Drain: Upcoming Update to Slash Power Use by 40%

By Kevin Armstrong
Sentry Mode Update is Coming
Sentry Mode Update is Coming

In an exchange on X, Drew Baglino, Tesla’s Senior Vice President of Powertrain and Energy Engineering, addressed the concerns regarding the power consumption of Tesla’s Sentry Mode. Responding to a user inquiry, Baglino confirmed the company’s commitment to reducing the feature's energy use by approximately 40% through a software update expected in Q2, which begins on April 1.

This announcement follows feedback from Tesla owners regarding the 'vampire drain' experienced when using Sentry Mode, highlighting Tesla's responsive approach to customer feedback and its dedication to continuous improvement. Another X user stated that there should be a breakdown or battery usage. This information already exists, but Baglino politely responded: The energy app provides a wealth of information about where your energy goes. He also linked to our Not a Tesla App article explaining that system.

Understanding the Drain of Sentry Mode

Sentry Mode is an advanced security feature for Tesla vehicles, leveraging the car’s cameras and sensors to monitor and record surroundings for potential threats when parked. Sentry Mode has proven invaluable for vehicle security by activating various deterrents, including pulsing headlights and alarm sounds.

Despite its benefits, the feature’s energy consumption, referred to as “vampire drain,” has been a concern, with estimates suggesting a small yet consistent drain on the vehicle's battery life. By optimizing Sentry Mode's power usage, Tesla enhances the feature's efficiency and extends the usability for owners, particularly when parking for extended periods without access to charging facilities.

Battery Management: Recognizing the importance of battery preservation, Sentry Mode automatically deactivates when the battery level falls to 20%, ensuring that the vehicle remains operational for essential travel.

Activation and Customization: Owners can activate Sentry Mode via the vehicle's touchscreen or mobile app, with options to customize settings, such as disabling sounds or excluding specific locations, tailoring the security feature to individual preferences and requirements.

Tesla's forthcoming software update aims to significantly reduce Sentry Mode's power usage, making it more adaptable for various situations without impacting the car's range or battery longevity. This enhancement aligns with Tesla's commitment to continuous improvement via over-the-air updates, directly responding to customer feedback with practical solutions. Owners looking forward to this change appreciate the balance between maintaining Sentry Mode's security benefits and preserving battery life for everyday needs.

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