Musk has called lidar a “crutch” and a “fool’s errand,” saying it’s too expensive and hard to use. But he has not dismissed radar entirely yet.
Tesla intends to keep radar in its higher-cost Model S and Model X vehicles and in Model 3 and Model Y cars made in China or for shipment to markets beyond North America for now.
According to Phil Koopman, CTO of Edge Case Research and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, Tesla should be able to get away with offering some features via vision today but might need to reintroduce radar later on to deliver more advanced automated features.
“The sensors used by an SAE Level 2 (human driver responsible for monitoring safety at all times) is at manufacturer discretion. So it’s possible they can provide at least some features with camera only, noting that the human is responsible for handling anything the camera can’t,” said Koopman.