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Musk Says Next Full Self Driving Update Almost Ready, Tesla Will Eventually Remove Radar Entirely

Musk Says Next Full Self Driving Update Almost Ready, Tesla Will Eventually Remove Radar Entirely

Tesla Inc's (NASDAQ: TSLA) Full Self Driving beta is a software package that's being used by a small set of public testers. The software allows Tesla's vehicles to attempt to drive from point A to point B with no interventions.

While the system is currently considered level 2 and the driver is responsible at all times, Tesla's goal is that this software will eventually allow level 5 autonomous driving, meaning someone that owns a Tesla could sleep or read a book on their drive to work.

Now CEO Elon Musk has tweeted Version 9, the next big update to the software, will be ready soon. Musk said this version will be all vision-based, and not even include radar in the sensor suite used for self driving. Currently, Tesla's self-driving software uses a combination of camera and radar data to make driving decisions. 

While most other autonomous vehicle companies use LiDAR, along with cameras and radar, Tesla aims to use only vision. The idea behind Tesla's approach is that humans do 100% of their driving with vision, no LiDAR or radar needed, so a sufficient self-driving vehicle should be able to do the same. Our current roadways are also developed entirely around the idea of vision-based driving, so this system would be able to drive anywhere it's located, once the software is complete. 

Musk also said the radar would eventually be completely removed from production. This is in stark contrast to even other simple driver assistance systems, which all rely on the radar in one form or another. This is in line with other decisions at Tesla to reduce and simplify the manufacturing process as much as possible. Tesla has already removed many components from the car, including the gear and windshield wiper stalks on its latest Model S and X refresh


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