Latest Cybertruck Beta Prototype Spotted with More Surprises

By Kevin Armstrong
The latest Cybertruck beta prototype was recently seen with the new mirrors and windshield wiper
The latest Cybertruck beta prototype was recently seen with the new mirrors and windshield wiper

It's like spotting Bigfoot. Every time Tesla's Cybertruck appears in the wild (video), it generates millions of views and a lot of conversation. The photographic evidence also offers some surprises. This should not be a shock considering Tesla's Chief Designer, Franz von Holzhausen, has said that some elements of the Cybertruck still have not been revealed.

A recent picture posted by @greggertruck gave us a good look at the front of the highly anticipated, futuristic-looking vehicle. While Tesla is near production, there are still some tweaks for the final product. You can assume one of those weeks will be to the massive windshield wiper. Elon Musk has said it would not be part of the final production, however, the giant blade is still present, as shown in the photo.

Musk is not a fan of the wiper that spans the entire windshield. Over a year ago, he tweeted: The wiper is what troubles me most. No easy solution. Deployable wiper that stows in front trunk would be ideal, but complex.

Front Bumper and Front Lightbar

The Cybertruck appears to have a slightly different front bumper design in this photo compared to previous prototypes. The lightbar above the windshield also remains a mystery. Early alpha prototypes included a full-width light above the windshield. However, in many states lights above the windshield can not be used on public roads. Tesla could face some challenges in keeping this lightbar in the production version of the vehicle.

Four-wheel Steering

Meanwhile, a recent video posted on Twitter by TokyoTesla has been viewed over 8 million times. At first glance, it appears to show the Cybertruck taking a spin, but upon closer inspection, it can be seen that the back wheels are turning in unison with the front wheels, suggesting that the Cybertruck will have four-wheel steering.

While four-wheel steering is not a new technology, it was not well received in the automotive world in the 1980s when it was introduced by various brands, including BMW, Porsche, Acura, Nissan, and Renault. However, the competition is now introducing four-wheel steering in their electric vehicles, such as the Hummer, which claims to allow for a better off-road experience, and the Silverado, as well as Hyundai's IONIQ 5.

Air Suspension

In addition to the four-wheel steering, the Cybertruck will also have advanced air suspension, similar to the Model X. The Model X can have a ground clearance as low as 5.4 inches or as high as 8.1 inches. At the same time, the Cybertruck appears to be very low in the four-wheel steering video, but other videos and pictures show it to be considerably higher.

Full-length Taillights

Finally, the taillights will be a full red bar that stretches the tailgate length, as Elon Musk confirmed on Twitter, despite earlier videos only showing two lights on the ends.

The limited quantity of Cybertrucks is expected to be released this year, with ramp-up production not taking place until 2024.

Tesla Vehicles Spotted With LiDAR: What Do They Use It For?

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

Tesla recently hit the news for purchasing approximately $2M in LiDAR sensors from Luminar, one of Tesla’s long-term suppliers. You’ve probably seen photos of Tesla’s Semi and various Tesla models, including the Model 3 and Model Y sporting LIDAR equipment on the roof. These cars drive around with manufacturer plates scanning streets and highways.

However, many people confuse Tesla’s purpose in purchasing LiDAR equipment with using it for FSD versus testing. So, let’s look at what LiDAR is, and why Tesla uses it on its Fleet Validation Vehicles.

What is LiDAR?

LiDAR stands for Light Detecting and Ranging – essentially using lasers to measure distances. A laser pulse is sent out, and the time it takes to return is measured – providing extremely accurate distance measurements.

Some companies working on self-driving vehicles, including Waymo and BYD, use LiDAR as part of their self-driving suites, but Tesla is one of the few stand-outs that does not. Even Rimac’s “Verne” Robotaxi – which uses self-driving technology from Mobileye, also uses LiDAR.

While LiDAR can produce extremely accurate and high-quality 3D environments, it comes with its downsides as well. Not only is LiDAR costly and requires large gear strapped to a vehicle, but it also can not be used in bad weather and can have interference issues if there are other strong light sources present.

Why Does Tesla Use LiDAR?

A LiDAR rig mounted on a Tesla Semi for testing FSD.
A LiDAR rig mounted on a Tesla Semi for testing FSD.
Not a Tesla App

At Autonomy Day in 2019, Elon Musk mentioned that LiDAR isn’t the solution for self-driving cars – it's just a crutch. Thus, Tesla hasn’t used LiDAR for any production self-driving software.

Instead, Tesla uses it exactly how it's described – they use it to gather ground-truth data. This data is then used to feed Tesla’s Full Self Driving system – which helps validate its vision-only system's accuracy. LiDAR provides very accurate measurements to help ensure that FSD’s perception of space is accurate – and is only used by Tesla to ensure that its AI technology which is the brains of FSD is capable of accurately interpreting depth from just visual data.

Tesla’s vision-only system has been seen to be extremely accurate, with Vision-only Autopark being able to park in even narrower and tighter spaces faster than the previous version that relied on ultrasonic sensors.

We’ll likely continue to see Tesla purchase LiDAR systems, as well as use them for validation well into the future.

Tesla's Upcoming Robotaxi Event in August Delayed, According to Bloomberg

By Karan Singh
Sugar Design

In a report from Bloomberg, it is claimed that Tesla will be delaying its much-anticipated 8/8 Robotaxi event by two months to October 2024.

While sources other than Bloomberg haven't confirmed this report, Bloomberg has a positive track record of reporting on financial decisions. We’ll be sure to update the article if there is confirmation on X from Elon Musk or another Tesla senior official.

Tesla’s stock has dropped nearly 8.5% over the day, ending back-to-back gains over the last two weeks. It closed yesterday at $ 241 after hitting a peak of $270 earlier in the day before the news broke.

Why the Delay?

The delay – of approximately two months – has been communicated internally, but not publicly announced just yet. Bloomberg goes on to mention that the design team was told to rework certain elements of the Cybercab, necessitating the delay.

If Bloomberg’s report is correct, it sounds like Tesla’s unveil event will be largely focused on showing off the vehicle, instead of demoing how it will work. Of course, it could still be both, but given past events, Tesla has always shown off the vehicle years before it hits production.

Rimac recently showed off their version of robotaxi vehicle named Verne, and surprisingly, it could almost pass for Tesla’s own robotaxi. A lot of design cues in Rimac’s version are elements we have already seen or expect to see in Tesla’s autonomous taxi.

A recent Tesla patent revealed that Tesla is incorporating a sanitation system into their robotaxi that will be responsible for analyzing and cleaning the vehicle’s interior, although the delay itself is likely tied more to a physical feature rather than software.

Another element we know almost nothing about is how Tesla plans to charge these robotic taxis. Will they rely on the existing charge port and adapt a solution like the robotic charging arm (video below) we saw almost eight years ago, or will wireless charging or a dock finally become realized?

While the delay for Tesla’s event appears to be related to the vehicle’s design itself and not further development of FSD, Tesla is wasting no time in getting FSD working for the upcoming vehicle. Model 3 vehicles have already been spotted with camera locations that resemble a robotaxi.

Is the Delay Accurate?

We expect that this delay might actually be true – Elon Musk usually takes to X within hours of such news breaking if it's false to refute it and hasn’t done so yet.

Tesla has delayed several of their events in the past, and a delay of a couple of months seems plausible. We should hear from Musk himself soon on whether this report is accurate.

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