The Cybertruck's Front Bumper Camera Washer in Action [Video]

By Kevin Armstrong
The Cybertruck will have a front camera with a washer and a heater
The Cybertruck will have a front camera with a washer and a heater

Tesla's unveiling of the Cybertruck still has the community buzzing as Tesla continues to send out emails for reservation holders to configure their Foundation series Cybertruck. While you wait for that email, Tesla has released some reading material for you to get even more acquainted with the stainless steel beast.

The parts catalog is also available, and it reveals even more surprises. It also details how much future owners should be prepared to dish out if a new part is needed. We reviewed the catalog and read a former Tesla service technician’s takeaways.

Front Bumper Camera (Video)

One of the Cybertruck's most innovative features, highlighted in the parts catalog, is its front camera system. This camera, placed at the center of the front bumper confirms that the front bumper camera will contain a washer to hose down the front lens which is sure to attract some debris.

However, it also confirms a new feature, the existence of a heating element for the front camera.

This dual functionality is essential for maintaining visibility and functionality in various weather conditions, especially in colder climates where snow and ice can obscure the lens. The heating element prevents the build-up of frost, while the washer ensures that dirt and debris do not compromise the camera’s view.

The front camera washer is activated manually through the Camera app. When viewing the front bumper camera, there is a small icon in the corner of the video feed that activates the new washing feature.

It’s also likely that Tesla will include this front bumper camera in all future models. A revision to the Model S and Model X will contain the new front camera, and the North American version of the new Model 3 is expected to include one as well.

The Cybertruck also includes hardware 4.0, and like other models we’ve seen, the Cybertruck will only contain two front-facing cameras at the top of the windshield.

Windshield and Wiper Blade: Pricing and Practicality

The Cybertruck's massive windshield, priced at $1,900, has garnered attention for its size and cost. Its replacement, possibly requiring specialized techniques, reflects the vehicle's unique design. The wiper blade, priced at $75, has been humorously noted for its size but is essential for maintaining clear visibility in adverse weather.

Cybertruck Wiper will cost $75
Cybertruck Wiper will cost $75
Not a Tesla AppTesla

Shatterproof Windows and Powered Frunk

The Cybertruck's side windows are shatterproof, priced between $200-$260, enhancing the vehicle's safety profile. The powered frunk, another innovative feature, offers added convenience and storage at approximately $2,845. Since the Cybertruck uses two gigacasting, the front and rear fenders will also be individually available. For the rear fenders, this is significantly different than most cars, as the rear fenders are usually built as part of the frame of the vehicle.

Cybertruck Frunk and Panels
Cybertruck Frunk and Panels

All-Terrain Tires and Suspension System

Equipped with 35" All-Terrain A/T tires (Goodyear Wrangler Territory RT), priced at $470 each, the Cybertruck is ready for rugged terrains. This choice in tires underscores the vehicle's off-road capabilities. Although not detailed in terms of cost, the suspension system is expected to match the vehicle's high-performance standards and be adaptable to varying driving conditions.

Rear Drive Unit: Engineering Excellence

A former Tesla employee, Anthony Spina, reviewed the catalog and provided an in-depth part-by-part breakdown. The rear drive unit, especially in the Tri-Motor Cybertruck, showcases Tesla's engineering prowess. Spina's insights reveal a 48-volt oil pump system integral to the vehicle's performance. This pump is vital in power distribution and thermal management, ensuring the motors operate efficiently under various conditions.

Better Phone Key Support

A lot of what makes the parts in the Cybertruck interesting is that they likely lay the groundwork for future Tesla models, much like the Model 3 did for the Model Y and new Model S and X.

It looks like the Cybertruck will now have seven Bluetoooth Low Energy (BLE) sensors around the vehicle, which is more than other models. Using a form of triangulation, this should be better at detecting where the driver’s phone is in relation to the car.

Since the car’s driver profile can be tied to a specific phone through Bluetooth Priority Device, this helps improve various features, including, better unlocking, setting the correct driver profile and connecting Bluetooth audio to the correct device.

SiriusXM Hardware

The Cybertruck is a mix between Tesla’s luxury line of the Model S and X and their economy line of the 3 and Y. While it has an air suspension, a powered frunk and other features not available on the new Model 3, it doesn’t have other features available on the Model S, such as an instrument cluster. It looks like it also won’t have dedicated SiriusXM hardware, which could be disappointment to some future owners. Hopefully Tesla plans on rolling out a streaming version of SiriusXM soon.

Concerns Over Supply Chain and Parts Availability

A looming concern for Cybertruck owners is the availability of replacement parts. Tesla's history of long wait times for parts, coupled with the Cybertruck's unique stainless steel construction, makes the efficiency of the supply chain a critical factor. Ensuring a consistent supply of components will be pivotal for Tesla to meet maintenance and repair demands.

The Tesla Cybertruck, with its array of innovative features, represents a significant evolution in the EV market. The insights derived from users like Spina and others offer a glimpse into a vehicle that is futuristic not only in design but also in functionality. Now, get studying while you wait for the delivery email from Tesla.

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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