Owner Finds Tesla Is Already Using Vision to Replace Ultrasonic Sensors

By Lennon Cihak
Tesla detecting distance without ultrasonic sensors
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.

Front Blindspot

Will Teslas have a blind spot directly in front of the vehicle?
Will Teslas have a blind spot directly in front of the vehicle?
Munro Live

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.

Upcoming Update

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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The Cybertruck Saga: Steam, Real World Tests, Celebrity Ownership, and Bulletproof?

By Kevin Armstrong
Cybertruck News
Cybertruck News

A glance at X at any moment reveals a continuous stream of fresh, intriguing, and sometimes eccentric content revolving around the Cybertruck. Since its production debut in December 2023, Tesla's latest sensation has commanded attention. Cybertruck's presence grows with each new owner, spawning a flurry of YouTube videos, social media posts on X, and articles across news outlets.

Disappointment for Gamers

While Tesla's Model S and Model X received accolades for integrating Steam gaming, the Cybertruck falls short, mirroring early builds of its predecessors in computer specifications. Notably, hacker @greentheonly insights suggest the Cybertruck's hardware may lack compatibility, dampening hopes for gaming enthusiasts. This is a surprise, considering the vehicle looks straight out of a video game!

Celebrity Ownership Expands

The list of celebrities acquiring a Cybertruck continues to grow. Music icon, Jay-Z and Beyoncé's recent purchase of a Cybertruck, styled in a sleek matte black finish reminiscent of a Batmobile, made the roads on social media. The power couple's endorsement of the Cybertruck reinforces its status as a symbol of luxury and innovation in the automotive world. Their Cybertruck delivery came just days after Kim Kardashian lit up social media with her “Cool Car Pool Mom” post.

Thwarting Break-In Attempts

Beyond its celebrity allure, the Cybertruck has proven its practicality in real-world scenarios, demonstrating its resilience against break-in attempts. Recent incidents have highlighted the vehicle's robust construction, with its stainless steel exterior and shatter-resistant windows effectively deterring vandalism. Despite attempts to breach the vehicle's security, the Cybertruck emerged relatively unscathed, reaffirming its status as a reliable choice for safety-conscious consumers.

Bullet Test: Adin Ross's Impact

Youtuber Adin Ross recently subjected the vehicle to gunfire, testing its ability to withstand ballistic impacts. Ross's video, which gained significant traction online, captured the Cybertruck enduring 9mm ammunition without sustaining critical damage, further validating Tesla's claims of creating an apocalypse-proof vehicle. While such extreme tests may seem unconventional, they underscore Cybertruck's reputation for toughness and resilience in challenging environments.

Toughness on Display

The Cybertruck's durability extends beyond security features, as evidenced by its performance in road accidents. In instances of rear-end collisions, the vehicle's stainless steel exoskeleton has shown remarkable resilience, minimizing damage and ensuring occupant safety. While concerns persist regarding the lack of a traditional crumple zone, Cybertruck's design philosophy prioritizes structural integrity, providing peace of mind for drivers in unforeseen circumstances.

Range Exceeds Expectations

Edmunds put the Cybertruck to the test, equipped with all-terrain tires. The vehicle surpassed initial estimates by covering 334 miles (537km) on a single charge, outperforming advertised figures and showcasing its efficiency on the road. For more range, Tesla has a range extender available.

Snow Trax Modification

One of the most captivating developments surrounding Cybertruck is the innovative CyberTrax modification, spearheaded by automotive modification luminary Dave Sparks. With an eye for adventure and a penchant for pushing boundaries, Sparks has embarked on a project that promises to transform the Cybertruck into a snow-conquering beast. The CyberTrax modification, aimed at enhancing the vehicle's off-road capabilities, has garnered widespread attention and support, even earning recognition from Tesla itself.

Ramping Up Production and Expansion

As Tesla continues to ramp up production of the Cybertruck, anticipation grows for its availability in international markets. With early units already sold in the U.S., Tesla's Vice President of Public Policy and Business Development has confirmed plans for expansion into Canada, signaling further growth opportunities for the electric pickup. Despite regulatory challenges in certain regions, Tesla remains committed to delivering the Cybertruck's innovative design to a global audience.

In conclusion, Tesla's Cybertruck continues to captivate audiences with its groundbreaking performance, celebrity endorsements, and ongoing advancements. From surpassing range expectations to withstanding gunfire, the Cybertruck has proven its mettle in various real-world scenarios, reaffirming its status as a revolutionary addition to the automotive landscape.

Tesla Updates Its App, Making It More Intuitive With New Menu and Reorganized Vehicle and App Settings

By Not a Tesla App Staff
Tesla has added a new menu to its app that organizes various settings
Tesla has added a new menu to its app that organizes various settings

Today, Tesla has updated its app to introduce a new menu that reorganizes vehicle, home energy, and account settings in a more logical and more discoverable manner.

App Update

Tesla updated its app to version 4.30 back on February 15th for iOS and followed suit with an Android update shortly thereafter. The app update included some significant changes such as a new Home Energy demo, Wall Connector charging charts, and a better view of your last Supercharger session.

However, the addition of the new menu arrived today thanks to under-the-hood changes Tesla had already made.

New Menu

The changes in the latest Tesla app don't require an app update
The changes in the latest Tesla app don't require an app update

The main change in the app is the new menu which replaces the user's profile picture.

Since this area was already used to change Tesla account and app settings and Tesla product preferences, the menu icon is more intuitive than an avatar.

However, after tapping into the menu, the user is greeted with a completely reorganized section. Instead of featuring horizontally scrolling tiles for different products and features, which was getting fairly long, Tesla has consolidated the features and now presents them vertically.

In the new profile section, Tesla has grouped lumped in account information and app settings. This includes personal information, order history as well as app settings, including calendar sync and app notifications.

Charging is now a top-level feature instead of being buried in the Account section. This section highlights your most recent Supercharger charging session which was redesigned during the 4.30 app update. It also lets you manage your payment method and view your Supercharger history.

My Products is the new way to add or remove Tesla products from your account. It now nicely displays all of your existing Tesla products and lets you dig into each one. By diving into each product, you're able to give access to another user, remove the product from your Tesla account if applicable, rename the product, or jump into the product view.

Vehicle and Home Screens

If you have a Tesla vehicle and a Home product, such as Solar or a Wall Connector, the way to switch between products is to swipe to the side. However, this wasn't very intuitive and Tesla has now added a dropdown next to the Home or Vehicle name that brings up a quick menu that lets you jump to other products.

If you already have app version 4.30, there's no need to update your app, just open the existing app and you should see the new menu in the top right. However, if you're still on Tesla app 4.29.5 or earlier, head over to the app store and upgrade to the latest Tesla app to see these new features.

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