Tesla cars without ultrasonic sensors do not show distances to objects (yet)

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Credit: @klwtts | Twitter

Tesla announced last week it was removing ultrasonic sensors from new Model 3 and Model Y builds, shifting instead to using its cameras and Tesla Vision for nearby object detection.

One week later and the first deliveries of Model 3 cars without the sensors have started, and at least for now the ability to see accurate distances to nearby objects is not currently available.

That is according to a Reddit user u/MrRagerKnows who took delivery of a red Model 3 today without the sensors. When asked if he had any alerts to show the distance of nearby objects, the new owner replied “Zero. Feels like 2002.”

Like the original switch to remove radar, Tesla said some features like Park Assist, Autopark, Summon, and Smart Summon will be temporarily limited or inactive while the changeover occurs. Tesla made no mention of these object detection alerts being disabled, despite many owners asking CEO Elon Musk that very question over Twitter.

We assume they will be re-enabled once Tesla is confident in their vision-based system, but there has been no confirmation from the automaker that this will happen, or when.

Along with the removal of the sensors, it appears as though Tesla has also made some changes to the cameras and camera housing.

Ryan Levenson from The Kilowatts ventured out to the delivery center in Colma, California this morning and found multiple Model 3s with no sensors.

Tesla vehicles seen entering The Bo...
Tesla vehicles seen entering The Boring Company Las Vegas Loop tunnel

When taking a closer look at the cameras, he found several minor differences which could point to Tesla updating their cameras to compensate for the lack of ultrasonic sensors.

As you can see in the images below, the lens on the side repeater camera is different, although the part number on the housing is the same for both. Additionally, Tesla appears to have changed the material used around the cameras on the side pillars.

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Founder and Editor-in-chief of Drive Tesla Canada | Darryn@DriveTeslaCanada.ca Have a Tesla tip? Email tips@driveteslacanada.ca, or DM us on Twitter @DriveTeslaca