Based on documents submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Tesla is getting ready to announce a new high-res radar unit as soon as next week, that would presumably form part of their next generation self-driving computer referred to as Hardware 4 or Autopilot 4 (HW4/AP4). While we wait for that announcement, information has leaked from China giving us more insights into some of the camera changes we can expect with HW4/AP4.
According to an internal document from Giga Shanghai shared on Twitter by Chris Zheng (@ChrisZheng001), the forward facing camera will be seeing a change from its current three camera configuration down to two cameras. According to Zheng this is because of the new camera’s pixel density and field of view. We have previously reported that HW4 will use 5 megapixel cameras, which is a significant jump from the current 1.2 megapixels.
In addition it is revealed that all other cameras have remained the same and it appears no new cameras, like one on the front bumper, have been added. The document also included a pair of images showing the new camera housing. According to a translation of the document it says:
“The front three-eye camera is changed to a binocular AP4 camera. B-pillar/tailgate/inner rearview mirror cover/side repeater cameras are all switched to AP4 cameras.”
Another change for the forward facing camera is that it now has a fan. The document does not detail the intended use of the fan and whether it is to keep the cameras cool or to prevent the windshield in front of the cameras from fogging up.
“The shape of the black border at the front camera position has changed. Added a camera fan. The appearance of the black border on the front shield has changed,” the document reads.
Finally, along with being upgraded to AP4 cameras, the B pillar is also getting a new heating device. This device will presumably help the camera from being obscured when the b pillar fogs up, something which frequently happens now, particularly in colder weather. The shape of hole surrounding the camera has also been changed from an oblong shape to a more circular shape, according to the images included on the document.
“The camera of the B-pillar exterior panel is changed, the shape of the hole is changed, and a camera heating device is added. Heating function will be evaluated after project feedback.”
Unfortunately the document does not reveal when we can expect to see either an announcement of HW4/AP4, or when it will be added to production lines. The only dates included in it are June 10, July 30, and August 10, 2022 under the column labeled “Valid From,” suggesting Tesla could have been testing this new setup since these dates.