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.
According to consumer reports, the 2021 Tesla Model 3 will no longer be listed as a “Top Pick”, and IIHS is also planning to remove the “Top Safety Pick +” label from the Model 3. Loss of these recommendations could impact Tesla’s sales and marketing strength. 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 almost three-quarters of cars by 2021 currently have imminent braking, also known as automatic emergency braking, and forward collision warning standard. Consumer Reports has not yet tested the radar-less version of Tesla vehicles, he confirmed.
As CNBC previously reported, Elon Musk’s electric car company announced on Tuesday that it will be banning radar sensors for vehicles in North America from Model 3 and Y vehicles from May this year in 2021.
The more expensive Model S and X vehicles and Model 3 and Model Y vehicles for markets outside of North America will still 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 functions. 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 for an unspecified but brief period of time, their new Model 3 or Y “may ship with some features that are temporarily restricted or inactive” while Tesla launches 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 as part of the Autopilot hardware suite in October 2014, 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.