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Tesla is ditching radar, will rely on cameras for Autopilot in some cars

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TSLAThe interior of a Tesla Model S is shown in autopilot mode in San Francisco, California, U.S., April 7, 2016.Alexandria Sage | Reuters

Tesla announced Tuesday that it is ditching radar in its driver-assistance features, including Autopilot.

In a blog post, the company said its best-selling Model 3 and Model Y vehicles made for customers in the U.S. and Canada starting this month would instead feature a camera-based system to enable Autopilot features such as traffic-adjusted cruise control or automatic lane-keeping.

Radar sensors are relatively expensive, and processing data from them takes significant computing power in a vehicle. Tesla has previously told shareholders that it believes “a vision-only system is ultimately all that is needed for full autonomy” and that it was planning to switch the U.S. market to Tesla Vision. CEO Elon Musk also said in a tweet on March 12 that the company would move to a “pure vision” approach.

Tesla said these will be the first Tesla vehicles to rely on camera vision and neural net processing to deliver “Autopilot, Full-Self Driving and certain active safety features.”

The company also cautioned that Autopilot and FSD systems would not be as useful or as strong during this period of technical adjustments.

“For