The REAL reason Tesla removed ultrasonic sensors from their cars w/ James Douma (Ep. 674)

The rest of this interview will be released tomorrow. Taped from a studio in Austin, TX.

Tesla previously removed radar and now they are eliminating ultrasonic sensing units from their automobiles. What's going on? James Douma describes how this is a step forward in the ideal instructions.

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The REAL reason Tesla removed ultrasonic sensors from their cars w/ James Douma (Ep. 674)

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27 Comments

  1. It’s always nice to see James, but I wish it wasn’t a “quick” video, but rather a LONG video discussing AI Day 2022.

  2. I’m guessing this was a really long, more structured conversation, and Dave is releasing it in small parts. My first thought is that it will be good for the channel and good for topic organization.

  3. Very interesting. I wonder if this might require upgraded/new cameras on older cars like 2018 or before.

  4. Thanks guys! As usual great and thoughtful conversation. I think removing the sensors is a good move. I have a 2019 M3 and I have gotten phantom readings from my sensors when parking since day one. Never could trust them completely. Do you think they’ll disable the existing sensors already in the fleet as they upgrade the software to not use the sensors?

  5. Technically the human eye has electromagnetic frequency range limitations that end at the ultraviolet end and the infrared end of the spectrum. The camera sensors can be made to extend beyond these end limit ranges even into night vision. In intense rain or snow storms radar may have some advantages in detecting road edges and obstacles etc.

  6. I disagree that vision is better for autopilot, the distance keeping is much “spongier” than radar. I have a 2020 Model 3 and noticed this difference, the distance keeping was much more responsive when radar was used. Regarding ultrasonic, I fail to see (ha ha) how they can detect a small child crawling out in front of the car that the camera didn’t see whereas the low-mounted ultrasonic sense immediately. Also, how about a solid color wall… how can distance be detected? Ultrasonic is the best way to detect that. Having sensors that go beyond vision is a benefit, more information, especially for low speeds. Please don’t disable them on my Model 3! 🙂

    1. I understood that radar usually works well, but sometimes it fails to detect obstacle in front of the car -> crash. Sometimes it causes phantom braking. Tesla might add high resolution radar in future.

  7. Combination of Tesla’s improvements in occupancy network and memory will basically enable the car to 3d map and remember where things are even when the cameras can’t see the curb anymore.

  8. I wish Tesla had cross traffic alerts when backing up.
    Many other cars have it and it is a great feature to reduce accidents when reversing.

  9. The front radar could bounce under the car in front of you and react when a car in front of that car started to slow or stop.
    Is vision better or worse in this regard ?

  10. “if people can do with their eyes, the car should be able to”

    WRONG! Current Camera sensor dont have the dynamic range of the human eyes, when in low light condition, it’s much worst.

    Cameras alone is a shitty approach. What Tesla needs to do is, marrying the cameras, ultrasonic, sonar and LiDAR sensors to work and communicate together and form a neural net to detect and avoid obstacle! Each has it’s own strength and weakness, a Camera itself + Software is not gonna solve it.

  11. Thanks both.
    I was also wondering about the impact on parking obstacles. Glad to hear confirmation from James that my hopes for Tesla Vision to handle this might be realistic.

  12. Drknowitall has done a great video about that and he has some edge cases that would be very hard to overcome only with the same array of cameras.
    One was: you park your car on an empty parking lot and let it stay there for some time.
    After coming back you sit in the car without checking if something is in front of your car, the camera can only see 1m in front of your nose.
    If there is a cat, dog, toddler on the ground, the car would not see it with deactivated sentry mode.
    Sure I’m that case you could drive 1 m backwards and see if there is something but what do you do on a supercharger where you drive backwards only few cm from the charger? There would be a blindspot, you need to check manually.
    If it is a robotaxi, would you do that or would you step in the car without ?
    There will be some of these corner cases that need to be brought into the spotlight so nothing bad happens because of this situation.
    What do you two say about that? Would be interesting to hear/read your opinion on that.
    Thanks for your videos, can’t wait to see every conversation of you two, especially on AI day 2022 🤯

    1. Sure there will be edge cases where a ultrasonic sensor would help. Also with higher curbs – ok it does not help with curbs. Also with things on the ground – ok it does not work either, but with dangerous potholes, ok does not happen here, but maybe in the US?

      I drove 40 years without sensors. Now i drive with tesla sensors since 2019. Next year i will not miss the ultrasonic sensors.

  13. Another smart move by Tesla. This is simplifying production. Remove physical installation of sensors, also remove software development and support on this. As a Tesla investor, I’m very happy with this move.

  14. I have missed James. Such a great guy. Thank you Dave.
    I am impatiently waiting for his assesment of AI Day 2.

  15. Very timely and informative. Thank you. James answered the question I had (as I’m sure many others did) since the news broke.

  16. I’ll be releasing the rest of this interview probably tomorrow morning. It’s almost 2 hours. James and I are also recording a more technical video as well going over AI Day slides. That will come out in a few days. 😉

    1. I can bet my money Tesla must have tested verified that they can do it before physically removing the the sensors ..

    2. There was news the other day that GM cannot deliver cars due to a shortage of these sensors. So Tesla hit with the same shortage just said, cancel the features for now. We can enable it later without them.

  17. I’ve learned so much from these interviews with James. He’s such as intelligent, humble and great explainer of everything. Thank you Dave for spreading these knowledges.

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