A brand-new Tesla Model X equipped with the brand’s latest Hardware 4 computer was taken apart by well-known Tesla hacker greentheonly and an interesting discovery was made that could potentially improve the reliability of the firm’s so-called Autopilot and Full Self-Driving driving assistance systems.
On his Twitter account, greentheonly posted photos of a front-mounted, Tesla-branded radar module which is connected to the Hardware 4 computer and presumably provides detailed information about the whereabouts of objects that are in front of the vehicle to the electronic brain.
For a bit of context, in 2022 Tesla transitioned from using an older-generation radar unit to its so-called “Tesla Vision” system that employs a series of cameras to “see” the road. Moreover, a recent report suggests that the aforementioned radar unit has been disabled by a software update earlier this year and that the module itself is being disconnected during routine service appointments.
In the past, CEO Elon Musk said that he was most frustrated with the quality of the radar itself and believed that a high-definition unit would improve the company’s driver assistance systems.
Back in February, the same greentheonly got his hands on a Hardware 4 computer board and revealed that its coding mentioned support for a four-dimensional “Phoenix” radar. Now, with the latest teardown, he has confirmed that Tesla will in fact bring back the radar for Autopilot and FSD.
Current vehicles using “Tesla Vision” have some disadvantages compared to when they used the old radar unit, like a lower maximum speed for cruise control (85 miles per hour) and a larger following distance (from about one car’s length to two). Some owners also complained about the erratic behavior of the automatic wipers after the radar module was rendered useless.
Although unconfirmed, this new 4D radar that seems to have been developed in-house by the Austin-based automaker could resolve these issues and possibly improve the reliability of Autopilot and FSD in certain scenarios. Hardware 4 also makes use of more and higher-definition cameras to scan the road, which will also help.
Deliveries of HW4-equipped Tesla Model X and Model Y vehicles have reportedly already begun, with the Model S, updated Model 3 “Highland,” and Cybertruck allegedly next in line to get the new hardware.
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