Tesla cars without ultrasonic sensors finally get camera-only parking assistance update but only for FSD owners
According to one teardown, Tesla saved about US$114 per car with the removal of the ultrasonic parking sensors (USS) from its vehicles. That's hundreds of millions in cost reduction on the up to two million cars it expects to produce this year. Unfortunately, ditching the USS system also means that newer Tesla cars have a parking functionality gap to the frustration of their owners. Their cars are lacking a number of features like Autopark or Smart Summon that Tesla promised to bring back with an update later on.
It apparently has started with the easiest one to implement by using its camera-only Vision system - Park Assist - as it has been discovered in the changelog to the 2022.45.11 software update. The parking assistant is now apparently able to see nearby objects using the 360-degree camera system, as opposed to the ultrasonic sensors that only beep whenever drivers approached obstacles at the back in reverse, or at the front.
The bad news is that not only is the new camera-only Park Assist option that visualizes distance to nearby objects available solely for cars without USS, but the rollout is limited even further to FSD buyers in North America. The parking assistant without ultrasonic sensors in the mix seems to be released just for those Tesla owners who have paid for their Full Self-Driving service and have applied for the Beta access. It remains to be tested whether it would work as good as the system with ultrasonic sensors.
Munro's teardown listed some potential challenges to a Vision-only Park Assist - low-lying obstacles like curbs as well as small animals passing by at the rear of the vehicles - that Tesla may have worked to address, hence the update rollout delay. Also, since USS-less Park Assist is only available to FSD subscribers who are based in the US or Canada, drivers of newer Teslas in Europe will have to continue parking without help from their car, relying only on a set of eyes and some spatial orientation.
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it only has 360º view far away from the car front, while the USS has a close up view. As such they would be complementary where the sum of them both is better than any one of them in isolation.— green (@greentheonly) March 19, 2023