Tesla registers new high-res radar. Could Tesla be changing its position on radar and LiDAR?

By Gabe Rodriguez Morrison
A Tesla vehicle equipped with LiDAR sensors
A Tesla vehicle equipped with LiDAR sensors

Tesla registered a new high resolution radar unit with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Tesla's intended use for these radar units is unknown, but it appears they are intended for imaging, similar to how LiDAR uses lasers to map surroundings.

While Tesla's FSD software has used radar in the past, Elon Musk has a rather unfavorable stance on LiDAR. For the purposes of autonomous driving, Musk sees LiDARs as a "fool's errand." Yet, people have been spotting Tesla prototypes with LiDAR sensors since last year.

Tesla files a patent for a high-res radar sensor
Tesla files a patent for a high-res radar sensor

The latest instance of Tesla using LiDAR comes from Twitter user @ManuelRToronto who spotted a LiDAR-mounted Tesla in downtown Toronto, only a few weeks after the release of FSD Beta in Canada.

He took a video of the LiDAR-mounted Model Y with manufacturer license plates from California.

There has been no official announcement from Tesla about these LiDAR-mounted vehicles, but it is safe to assume that Tesla will not use LiDAR on any production vehicles.

Tesla is likely using LiDAR to help train their machine learning algorithms, using it as the ground truth when checking for accuracy. Unlike cameras, LiDAR captures extremely accurate 3D depth measurements.

LiDAR could be used to train these algorithms to accurately interpret depth by relying on precise, non-interpretive LiDAR sensors.

Cameras are limited to 2D data combined with computer vision algorithms to interpret 3D depth. The downside to this approach is that it requires a computational process versus having precise 3D depth measurement from a LiDAR sensor.

However, LiDAR sensors are expensive; the benefit of relying solely on cameras is that it makes Teslas much more affordable.

LiDAR can't be the only sensor used in a vehicle since it can only build a wireframe 3D environment. Without cameras it wouldn't be able to read traffic signs, traffic lights or anything that doesn't have depth.

Vehicles with LiDAR also rely on camera data and fuse the two outputs of the two sensors together to build a virtual representation of the real world.

Musk believes that self-driving cars should navigate the world in the same manner as human drivers. Since humans use their eyes and brain to navigate three-dimensional space, cars with cameras and enough computational power should be able to achieve the same thing.

"Humans drive with eyes and biological neural nets, so it makes sense that cameras and silicon neural nets are the only way to achieve a generalized solution to self-driving, " says Elon Musk.

While other self-driving initiatives like Google's Waymo have taken a LiDAR approach, Tesla is outpacing the competition using vision-only, machine learning and the network effect of over 100,000 vehicles in the FSD Beta program.

Tesla's vision-only approach has become smart enough that adding radar data gives the system more information than it needs and disorients the FSD software.

LiDAR and radar may be helpful in training the FSD software, but Tesla wants to avoid using multiple sensors with potentially conflicting perceptions that would overwhelm the system.

With Tesla's recent patent of a high resolution radar, and the recent reported use of LiDAR, it is possible that Tesla's Robotaxi will employ radar and/or LiDAR in order to reach full automation.

Levels of driving automation
Levels of driving automation

Tesla's FSD software could eventually be segmented into consumer and commercial self-driving vehicles with consumer vehicles reaching conditional autonomy (L2/L3) using vision-only and commercial vehicles reaching full autonomy (L4/L5) with the help of radar or potentially even LiDAR sensors.

Commercial robotaxis could even be multi-sensor (cameras, radar, LiDAR), costing much more, while consumer self-driving vehicles would be vision only and more affordable.

Tesla Updates Hazard Lights Frequency To Improve Safety in Software Update

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla is implementing a new hazard light pattern that improves drivers' attention
Tesla is implementing a new hazard light pattern that improves drivers' attention
Emergency Safety Solutions

Tesla is rolling out a significant safety enhancement through a software update. Teslas, already the safest vehicles on the planet, got a little safer thanks to a small company based in Texas. While this article will highlight the advancement in safety, it will also applaud the work of Emergency Safety Solutions, which dared to challenge the old way of doing things.

Overnight Evolution: The Game Changer

Tesla North America didn't mince words when they announced: "If an airbag is deployed, hazard lights will automatically activate & flash faster to improve visibility." Elon Musk added, "New Tesla safety feature uploaded via over-the-air software update. Your car just got better while you slept."

It got much better thanks to a partnership with Emergency Safety Solutions (ESS), which we spotlighted a year ago. The small company, now just five years old, used a Tesla Model 3 to display its advancements in the hazard lights system, which had remained unchanged for more than 70 years. After numerous studies, the company changed everything about the hazard lights and approached Tesla with its findings.

Chilling Frequency: Every seven minutes, a disabled vehicle is involved in a crash on American roads. The result? An alarming 15,000 injuries or fatalities annually.

Ancient Flaws: The primary culprit behind these startling figures is a hazard light system that hasn't been updated in over seven decades.

The Solution: A frequency shift by adjusting flash frequencies from the sluggish 1.5Hz system to between 4Hz and 6Hz immensely heightens driver alertness. Hertz is a unit of frequency, which equals the number of cycles per second. In this case, the frequency of flashing lights is increased from 1.5 flashes per second, up to 4 - 6 flashes per second.

Real-World Outcomes: When 5Hz flash frequency was tested, drivers reacted a crucial 12 seconds faster. Moreover, they recognized an issue of more than three football fields sooner than the 70-year version. The number of drivers shifting to the safer side of a disabled vehicle also shot up dramatically — from 30% to an impressive 87%.

Emergency Safety Solutions also posted on X: "Great step toward making our roads safer for people in disabled and vulnerable vehicles! We appreciate our partnership with Tesla and applaud this major milestone in our mission to protect drivers when they need it most."

Software Update

Tesla states in their post on X that this update is rolling out now in the U.S. to Model 3/Y vehicles and newer Model S and Xs.

It's not clear whether Tesla means this enhancement is available in update 2023.32, or whether it's in the upcoming 2023.38 update, which is currently in employee testing.

It's more likely that H.E.L.P. is implemented in update 2023.38, but we have yet to receive release notes for vehicles in the U.S., so we'll have to wait and see if this enhancement made it in.

More H.E.L.P. to Come

Keep an eye out for even more safety advancements courtesy of this partnership with ESS and Tesla. The company created the Hazard Enhanced Location Protocol or HELP. Beyond the lightning-fast flashes, HELP seamlessly integrates with in-car and phone navigation systems, giving drivers a heads-up about potential hazards before they become visible. It's like giving your Tesla a sixth sense.

Unfortunately, that will take longer as it would require more automakers to get on board with this new system. However, as we've realized, automakers are following Tesla's leadership on several fronts, and they may also increase road safety and implement the advanced system.

Video Reveals the Tesla Cybertruck's Unique User Interface [Video]

By Kevin Armstrong
A closer look at the Cybertruck's UI
A closer look at the Cybertruck's UI

It's not a good day to be named Max and work at Tesla or on the security team assigned to the Cybertruck. You can't help but wonder how a daring individual found himself in the driver's seat of this highly anticipated vehicle. This perpetrator spoke in Russian and joked that a bag in the truck belonged to Elon Musk before zooming in to a name tag reading "Max."

While we certainly don't condone breaking the law, we were provided with a risky reveal of the Cybertruck's interior courtesy of a mysterious and perhaps too-bold-for-his-own-good infiltrator.

Cyber-Theme UI

The video is less than a minute long but provides new information, notably on the updated user interface (UI). For weeks we've had Cybertruck sightings, but this is our best look at the Cybertruck's display.

Updated Icons and Font

The UI appears designed specifically for the Cybertruck; icons possess subtle sharp edges, mirroring Cybertruck's angular aesthetics. This design philosophy also extends to the unique font choice, giving the UI a rugged, distinct look.


A further advancement is the seamless transition between vehicle visualization and maps. The once-clear partition is a fading background, allowing for a more unified appearance. This unity is further emphasized with the vehicle now being depicted atop a 3D polygon terrain, which has been discovered before in firmware updates.

Icon Placement Changes

One of the first distinctions users would notice is the transition from horizontal app icons. This design has been the hallmark of previous Tesla models, to a vertical arrangement along the lefthand side of the screen.

The vehicle control icon is at the bottom, followed by climate controls and other apps. The gear indicator has evolved, too, switching from its usual horizontal layout to a vertical orientation in the screen's top left portion.

A closer look at the Cybertruck's UI
A closer look at the Cybertruck's UI

The status icons, such as time, temperature, Tesla profile used to grace the top of the display, but they have now been realigned to the left side and can now be found directly above the vehicle visualization.

Cameras, Front Camera Confirmed

Another intriguing update revolves around the Camera app. Where previously users had to decipher camera views, they are now labeled for convenience, as showcased in the video with marked "Left" and "Front" camera views. Yes, there is a front camera view, finally answering the question of Tesla introducing the front bumper camera. We previously had a look at how we expect Tesla's updated Camera app to work with the front bumper camera.

Battery Icon

One of the standout features in the video is the battery display. Gone are the traditional battery icons. Instead, we are introduced to slanted lines, each symbolizing 10% of the battery charge. This visual representation is intuitive and integrates with the Cybertruck's angular design.

Music Mini Player?

Beneath the vehicle visualization is what appears to be a minuscule music control feature, though its precise functionality remains uncertain from the short video clip.

Inside the Cybertruck: More than Just a Fresh UI

Ambient Lighting: Drawing inspiration from the latest Model 3 Refresh and the Chinese Model Y, the Cybertruck incorporates a colorful ambient lighting strip. Strategically placed, this lighting adds a modern aura to the vehicle's groundbreaking design.

Interior Layout and Accessories: The video takes us on a mini-tour of the truck's interior, revealing several intriguing features:

Hexagonal Design Elements: Keeping in line with Cybertruck's geometric aesthetic, the backup camera icon flaunts a hexagonal design, intriguingly contrasting the octagonal design found on the cupholders.

Center Console: A spacious tray area reminiscent of the old Model S finds a home between the front seats. Decked with some wires and a yet-to-be-identified document, the console boasts "cyber cupholders" with an octagonal design. Furthermore, it's equipped with dual phone charging spots right in front of the cupholders.

Sun Visor: The video briefly showcases the two-stage sun visor, which resembles the one found in the Model X. The video provides a glimpse of the massive glass roof, promising a panoramic view that will undoubtedly make the interior feel even more expansive.

Rear Window View: A feature with many talking is the clear view through the back window. Although the video offers only a short glimpse, obstructed by tires placed in the truck's bed, it's evident that when the cover is open, drivers and passengers will benefit from an expansive, unobstructed view.

As one viewer pointed out, this video will probably be used for evidence one day. Whoever was in the Cybertruck owes Max an apology, and poor Max needs to remember to lock the door.

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Although we share official Tesla release notes, we are not affiliated with Tesla Motors. We are Tesla fans and supporters.

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Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.


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