Tesla is setting up shop in Malaysia and you can expect their popular models such as the Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model Y to go on sale locally with official warranty and support very soon. Ahead of its official launch, Tesla Sdn Bhd has gotten approval from SIRIM for several tech components that would likely be used for its electric vehicles in Malaysia.
As spotted by Paultan, three components have been listed on SIRIM’s database which include a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (1849171), a Short Range Radar Equipment (1541584) and a mobile phone wireless charger (WC3). What’s interesting is the inclusion of the radar equipment as Tesla announced two years ago that it will remove radar from its Model 3 and Y EVs as it will move toward Tesla Vision which relies mainly on optical cameras for its autopilot and full self-driving features. In October last year, Tesla announced that it is removing ultrasonic parking sensors as well, a move that was seen as a cost-cutting measure.
Sensors are a bitstream and cameras have several orders of magnitude more bits/sec than radar (or lidar).— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 10, 2021
Radar must meaningfully increase signal/noise of bitstream to be worth complexity of integrating it.
As vision processing gets better, it just leaves radar far behind.
Tesla Chief Elon Musk tweeted before claiming that Vision has much more precision and it is better to double down on vision than do sensor fusion. He believed as vision processing gets better, it will leave radar far behind.
Late last year, it was reported that Telsa is bringing back radar to its vehicles starting in 2023. One of the indications is a new “1541584” radar equipment that was filled with the FCC in June last year. This is the same model number that’s listed in Malaysia’s SIRIM database.
The inclusion of radar on Tesla EVs for Malaysia should be good news for safety. While Tesla Vision is constantly improving with better object detection technologies, there are still limitations when it comes to cameras. Optical cameras can offer a greater field of view but the performance can be affected by dirt or weather conditions including glaring sunlight or heavy rain. This is where radar can help as the radio waves are less affected by visibility issues.
A purported report claimed that Tesla engineers have tried to convince Elon Musk not to phase out radar for autopilot and self-driving as the lack of radar could make the vehicles susceptible to basic perception errors which could lead to crashes. The same report claimed there was an uptick in crashes and near misses after Tesla started disabling radar in cars already available on the road.
At the moment, most EVs with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) sold in Malaysia come with a combination of cameras and radar. In China, EV manufacturers are taking a step further by doubling down on sensors including Lidar.
Going back to Tesla, it appears that a new refreshed Model 3 could be released very soon. Based on spy videos, the new Model 3 may use swiping gestures on the touch screen for the drive selector instead of a physical stalk on the steering column.
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