Does Tesla Autopilot work differently with the radar removed?
Tesla owner and YouTube influencer Dax M reached out to us via email to share this unique video. He recently purchased a brand-new Tesla Model Y. According to Dax, his Model Y doesn't have radar. How does he know this? It was recently learned that Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles built on or after April 27, 2021, no longer have radar.
This information comes directly from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website. The organization has made it clear that certain advanced driver-assist systems are no longer enabled. With the major change to Tesla's Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta systems, it will likely need to be proven and verified that these features are updated and working properly before NHTSA can list the features as active on its website.
Once the April 27 date became known, Tesla fans and owners on social media began asking people to check and find out when their Model 3 or Model Y was built. This way, people could begin to run tests of the cars that no longer have radar. Dax M did just that.
It's important to note here that Dax's Model Y doesn't have Tesla's FSD Beta, though it has the option to show the on-screen visualizations. His Model Y simply has basic Autopilot. This means it can't navigate on and off highway ramps, it can't change lanes on its own, etc.
So, can you tell the difference when you're driving a Tesla with no radar, assuming you've driven one with radar in the past?
For reference, Dax's Model Y is running software version 2021.4.15.11. He breaks down the video into the following topics with timestamps:
1:43 NHTSA Ratings
2:30 Screen Layout Changes?
3:38 Front Camera Changes?
4:43 Road Test
5:11 Following Distance Changes
6:03 Lack of Radar Changes
7:32 Highway Speed Changes
It appears the Model Y has the same set of cameras found in previous versions that also include radar. Dax takes us through the car's touch-screen menu to make a note of any changes, or whether any features appear to be deactivated or grayed out.
During his test drive, he shows that the Model Y no longer has the ability to "see" a car in front of another car, which seems to be a concern for some people. However, without FSD Beta, there are many features he's unable to test.
At any rate, check out the video and then start a conversation in our comment section below. Are you a believer in the pure vision/no radar approach, or do you have concerns?