- the tesla model y, the ev maker's newest model, will have a heating unit on the radar sensor to keep it clear in cold weather.
- the radar system, in conjunction with the vehicle's cameras, is how autopilot determines how far away items are from the vehicle.
- tesla joins mercedes, bmw, and audi in using heat to help automobiles see the world around them.
schematics have surfaced on twitter from a tesla hacker known as @green that show a heating unit for the model y's radar sensors.
while ceo elon musk has been bullish on cars being able to drive themselves using camera vision, radar is still important, according to a tweet he posted in 2018. in that post he also noted that a heating unit was likely coming to the radar system.
tesla is far from the first company to add heating units to driver-assistance system sensors. bmw, mercedes, and audi all have heating units for their vehicles' sensors. the heat keeps the elements from being "blinded" by ice and snow. the model y's system will essentially do the same thing. there doesn't have to be snow on the ground for a sensor to have frost buildup in the morning that would disable a feature that will be needed during a commute.
adding the heating element also helps tesla fulfill its promise of full self-driving. the feature has been promised by the automaker for a while and has encountered more than a few delays. autopilot, currently a $7000 option, will eventually give the vehicles the ability to drive on their own in certain situations. currently, autopilot requires the driver to keep hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.