Tesla Model 3
When Tesla decided to remove radar sensors from its newer Model 3 and Y vehicles in the United States, the functionality of those vehicles had to be downgraded, at least temporarily. As a result, consumer reports and the Road Safety Insurance Institute are suspending some important safety notices for these cars.
Consumer Reports announced that the Tesla Model 3 will no longer be listed as a “Top Pick” in 2021, and reported that IIHS is also planning to remove the “Top Safety Pick +” label from the Model 3. Losing these recommendations prematurely could impact Tesla’s sales and marketing strengths. Automakers generally advertise such industry awards when communicating with potential customers.
Jake Fisher, Senior Director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center, told CNBC that if all functions of its cars are fully restored, Tesla can get its referrals back.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s evaluation pages for Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles built on or after April 27, 2021 no longer have ticks indicating that the agency is testing the safety features of the modified Tesla has, including forward collision warning and lane departure check warning, imminent braking and dynamic braking assistance.
Fisher notes that impending crash braking, also known as automatic emergency braking, and forward collision warning are currently standard in almost three quarters of cars in 2021. Consumer Reports has not yet tested the radar-less version of the Tesla vehicles, he confirmed.
As CNBC previously reported, Elon Musk’s electric car company announced on Tuesday that it will be banning Model 3 and Model Y radar sensors for customers in North America from May this year.
The more expensive Model S and X vehicles, and Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, made for markets outside of North America, will continue to have radar technology on board.
In its announcement, Tesla said the modified cars would now use a camera and machine learning-based system, Tesla Vision, to activate driver assistance features. Tesla markets these as autopilot, its standard option, and full self-driving, its premium option. Neither of the two systems makes Tesla vehicles autonomous.
Tesla also warned customers that their new Model 3 or Y may ship for an unspecified but short period of time with potentially temporarily limited or inactive features while Tesla rolls out its new system.
Radar was previously seen as an integral part of Tesla’s advanced driver assistance systems. In a 2016 blog post that has now been deleted from the Tesla website, the company wrote:
“The main upgrade to Autopilot will be to use more advanced signal processing to use the on-board radar to create an image of the world. The radar was added to all Tesla vehicles in October 2014 as part of the Autopilot hardware suite, but it only was . ” should be an additional sensor to the primary camera and the image processing system. After careful consideration, we now believe that it can be used as the primary control sensor without the camera having to confirm the visual image recognition. “
Tesla did not respond to a request for more information.