Tesla detecting distance without ultrasonic sensors
Tesla owner and EV mechanic Occupy Mars shared a video of their salvaged 2018 Tesla Model 3 detecting distances without its ultrasonic sensors (USS).
Occupy Mars shared a 10.5-minute video explaining how they discovered this anomaly. Even though the vehicle was running version 2022.28.2, which was released in September 2022, the vehicle managed to measure distances without the use of USS.
Occupy Mars moved the vehicle out of their garage without the front bumper and confirmed that all ultrasonic sensors were disconnected. However, they noticed that their Model 3 was accurately detecting a vehicle next to it and displaying the appropriate distances on the screen. This appears to confirm that Tesla is testing Tesla Vision to detect nearby objects and display distances, but only on vehicles with USS.
Confirming Camera Detection
Interestingly, Occupy Mars' vehicle only detected the distances while in reverse, although a lot of the car is taken apart, so this could have been due to early software or hardware issues. When pulling up closer to the garage, Occupy Mars noticed the Model 3 was not showing the distance between the car and the garage. Instead, it was detecting objects at the corners of the vehicle. This would make sense given the blindspot in front of the vehicle where cameras can not see.
To confirm that the vehicle was using its cameras to determine distances, Occupy Mars covered the front-facing and B-pillar cameras with tape. Once the vehicle's cameras were covered, the car immediately stopped displaying the arcs and distances from nearby objects.
Occupy Mars went a step further to rule out radar use and physically unplugged the vehicle's radar and with the cameras uncovered, the vehicle continued to detect objects and display distances.
Video Showing USS-like Detection Using Vision
The video below by Occupy Mars shows their vehicle detecting distances without utilizing any ultrasonic sensors or radar.
Running Vision in Shadow Mode
What appears to be happening is that Tesla is actively testing and collecting data from vehicles that are equipped with ultrasonic sensors, and it appears they've been doing so for several months. Previously, the USS were fully responsible for detecting distances for nearby objects, but it appears Tesla is now using an updated version of Tesla Vision in shadow mode. This lets Tesla run code in the background to assess its accuracy before having the vehicle or driver rely on it. Tesla then uses the vision-detected distances and compares those values to the output of the vehicle's ultrasonic sensors, letting them assess the new system's accuracy before releasing it publicly.
The Removal of Ultrasonic Sensors
On October 4th, 2022, Tesla announced that they were removing ultrasonic sensors from their vehicles and beginning the transition into their own proprietary “Tesla Vision.” According to Tesla’s announcement, Model 3 and Model Y vehicles built in October 2022 and beyond no longer included the USS. Later, Tesla removed USS from the Model S and Model X as well.
This came as a bit of a shock to drivers and automotive experts, namely the team from Munro Live. The USS are standard in modern vehicles. They’re used to detect distances in tight spaces to enhance the safety of the vehicle. But Tesla believes they can maintain a similar level of safety and accuracy without the USS, despite some outcry from the Tesla community and experts.
Savings Due to the Removal of Ultrasonic Sensors
Tesla is saving an estimated $114 per vehicle by removing the USS, equating to roughly 100 million dollars per year based on Tesla’s volume, per Munro Live. This effort makes sense as Tesla is revamping its Model 3 to cut costs so prospective buyers can take advantage of the new federal tax credit.
Will Teslas have a blind spot directly in front of the vehicle?
As pointed out in the Munro Live video, there is a three-foot blindspot in the front of the vehicle. Tesla’s rumored solution for the three-foot blindspot is to have the vehicle remember what it sees when driving toward an object. But if the vehicle is parked for an extended period and something is placed in front of it, how will the vehicle know where it’s placed or if it has moved?
Tesla could continue processing camera data while parked as they do in Sentry Mode, but this would cause significant battery usage over time.
Tesla may also just leave out the ability to detect objects in front of the vehicle when the vehicle is first started.
More recently Tesla owner and hacker GreenTheOnly found code of Tesla testing vision-based USS-type detection in update 2022.40, so it's clear that Tesla plans to address the lack of USS, but it appears the fix is taking longer than expected. Although nothing has been officially communicated by Tesla, we could be close to receiving the long-awaited update that restores USS-type detection.
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Elon Musk and Jeremy Clarkson have an ongoing feud
Elon Musk Viral Videos/YouTube
The automotive world has witnessed many rivalries throughout history, but none quite as electrifying as the ongoing feud between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and British television presenter Jeremy Clarkson. These two larger-than-life personalities have consistently butted heads over electric vehicles, Tesla's performance, and the future of transportation. Let's take a trip down memory lane and relive some of the most memorable moments from this epic battle of wits and opinions.
The Spark That Ignited the Feud
It all began in 2008, when Clarkson, then a host of the popular British television show Top Gear, reviewed Tesla's first production car (video below), the Roadster. In Season 12, Episode 7, Clarkson was critical of the Roadster's range and reliability, with the segment featuring the car running out of battery and breaking down. Tesla quickly claimed that the breakdown was staged for dramatic effect, a claim that BBC denied.
The Aftermath and Legal Action
Tesla didn't take Clarkson's review lightly. In 2011, the electric car manufacturer filed a lawsuit against BBC, alleging defamation and malicious falsehood. However, the British High Court dismissed the case in 2013, with the judge stating that no Top Gear viewer would have reasonably compared the Roadster's performance to that of a traditional sports car based on the episode.
The War of Words
The legal battle didn't put an end to the rivalry. Over the years, Musk and Clarkson exchanged barbs through interviews and social media. In a 2018 interview with The Independent, Clarkson called Musk "an idiot" and claimed they "almost had a fight." In response, Musk took to Twitter and called Clarkson "weird" and "rude." In 2021, Clarkson talked about Musk's kids' unique names and suggested he call them "John or Jane or whatever."
The Twitter Battle
The rivalry between Musk and Clarkson has expanded beyond the realm of electric vehicles. Recently, Clarkson shared his thoughts on Musk's new Twitter laws and claimed that the new CEO should be paying him to use the social media network. In his Sunday Times column, Clarkson expressed his outrage at the proposed new costs for blue tick verification. He argued that he brings in advertising for the platform and should not be paying for the verification. This latest episode showcases the enduring feud between these two influential figures.
The Autopilot Debate
Clarkson has also criticized Tesla's Autopilot feature, questioning its safety and reliability. He once called it "an accident waiting to happen" after a fatal accident involving a Tesla Model S operating on Autopilot in 2016. However, Musk has dismissed Clarkson's concerns as biased and uninformed, insisting that critics have an outdated view of electric vehicles and are resistant to change.
The Model X Review and Beyond
Despite his new-found popularity, Clarkson didn't shy away from critiquing Tesla. In a 2019 episode of The Grand Tour, he reviewed the Tesla Model X, acknowledging its advancements while questioning its design and practicality. Clarkson said, "The truth is, the world's most hated car company has changed the world," but he also questioned whether electric vehicles would ever fully replace internal combustion engine cars.
The Grand Tour and Clarkson's Farm
After leaving Top Gear, Clarkson and co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May launched The Grand Tour on Amazon Studios. The show continued to feature Tesla vehicles and maintain a critical stance on electric cars. However, Clarkson's image softened with the release of his show Clarkson's Farm, which showcased his love for farming and the challenges he faced in running a farm. The show garnered a new fan base and a more sympathetic public image, but he still prefers internal combustion.
In a surprising twist, Elon Musk appeared on Top Gear in 2020, discussing Tesla's progress and the future of electric vehicles with the show's presenters. Though Clarkson was not involved in the episode, the appearance marked a notable moment in the rivalry's history.
The ongoing feud between Elon Musk and Jeremy Clarkson is a fascinating chapter in the automotive world. As electric vehicles become increasingly popular, the rivalry between these two influential figures serves as a reminder of the broader debate surrounding the future of transportation. With the latest development involving Twitter, it's clear that their rivalry continues to evolve and shows no signs of slowing down. Fans of both individuals can only wait and see what the next chapter holds for this electrifying tale.
Tesla added a new 'Manual' app that contains tips and answers popular questions
Ultimate_Bulter/Reddit (Edited by Not a Tesla App)
The Tesla community is always exploring their vehicle, and lucky for us, they share what they find. For example, a recent discovery by a Reddit user Ultimate_Bulter has revealed an undocumented update in Tesla's latest software version, 2023.6.8. The user found a hidden icon labeled 'Manual' in the vehicle's infotainment center, leading to Tesla tips and the Tesla User Manual App, which was added in the 2023.6 update.
This app does more than merely open the in-car manual; it offers an interactive guide for common questions for Tesla owners.
The Tesla Manual App is divided into two sections: "Get to Know Your Tesla" and "Owner's Manual." The former is an interactive guide designed to help Tesla owners become more familiar with their vehicle's features, while the latter contains detailed information on every aspect of the car.
Get to Know Your Tesla
"Get to Know Your Tesla" contains popular topics related to the vehicle's features, functionality, and maintenance. This section is designed to be an interactive and user-friendly way for new and existing Tesla owners to familiarize themselves with their car's features. It includes buttons that, when pressed, can perform actions such as opening the glovebox or activating the windshield wipers. This innovative approach helps users quickly understand and navigate their vehicle's numerous features.
The "Owner's Manual" section of the app offers a comprehensive guide to every aspect of the car. This portion of the app includes in-depth information on everything from vehicle maintenance to troubleshooting and beyond. Tesla owners can access this section to find answers to their questions and better understand their car's various systems and components. The vehicle's user manual was already available in the car through Controls > Service > Owner's Manual, but linking to it through this new app makes it more discoverable.
Tesla added a new 'Manual' app that contains tips and answers popular questions
Ultimate_Bulter/Reddit (Edited by Not a Tesla App)
The Tesla User Manual App's inclusion in the 2023.6.8 update appears to have gone undocumented, as it was not listed in the official release notes. This has led to speculation that the app was meant to be a surprise or "Easter egg" feature for Tesla owners to discover. The Reddit user's discovery has since been met with excitement and appreciation from the Tesla community, who have praised the app for its interactive and user-friendly design.
The Tesla User Manual App offers a fresh and innovative approach to vehicle user guides, taking advantage of the car's advanced infotainment system. This app's interactive nature allows Tesla owners to familiarize themselves with their vehicle's features and troubleshoot issues more efficiently.
As more users uncover this hidden gem within their Tesla, it is expected Tesla will continue to add tips to the manual app. This discovery highlights Tesla's commitment to providing a unique and cutting-edge experience for its customers, even in the most unexpected places.
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