Possible Tesla Douchery: Old Blog Entry Detailing the Benefits of Radar, Deleted

Tesla Autopilot sensors range 1 photo
Photo: Tesla
In case you missed it, the Tesla community is currently on high alert after the company announced all Model 3 and Model Y EVs built starting this May will not feature a radar sensor anymore.
The obvious question derived from here is "why," but sadly, there is no equally obvious answer. All we can offer is the company's position—the cameras alone can and will eventually substitute the role the radar used to have—and suppositions—marrying information from different types of sensors so the AI can make the best of it is probably overly complicated. As a result, Tesla had to choose one over the other; in this case, the choice was obvious since you definitely can't navigate based on radar alone.

At the end of the day, it is the company's choice, so why should anyone care about it. If people don't like it, they're free to look at the products of different brands—thank god, there are plenty of options on the market right now. Yeah, except a few have already placed an order for a Model 3 or Y equipped with radar, and they'll get one without—or probably the option to cancel their order, with no refund for the wasted time.

Well, you might think that sucks, but listen to this. People on Reddit have figured out that Tesla has presumably deleted an old blog entry called "Upgrading Autopilot: Seeing the World in Radar" dated September 11, 2016. Browse the "Blog" section on the company's website, and (at least at the time of writing) you won't find any entry on that date—or indeed one bearing that name on any other date.

If this is indeed true and Tesla is trying to make it seem as though radar was never an important part of its autonomous driving suite this way, it definitely says something about how this company operates and treats its customers and the public as a whole.

All the talk around removing the radar seems to suggest the technology is not needed anymore because visual recognition algorithms have evolved enough that they allow the AI to make the best decisions based on the information provided by the cameras alone. We have no way of verifying whether that's true or not, but that's the message Tesla seems to convey.

If that's the case, instead of attempting to change history, the reasonable thing to do would have been to write another post explaining why radar was needed back then and why it isn't anymore. We're sure that no matter how technical the explanation, somebody could have been able to put it in layman's terms for all of us to understand.

The approach that's seemingly been taken, though, only makes everything seem that much more fishy, especially if you consider the fact that Tesla previously had no problem selling vehicles equipped with all the hardware it considered necessary for autonomous driving even without the owner paying for it. It's clear the company sees the future of self-driving linked strictly to vision sensors (cameras), but why hasten the removal of the radar before sorting out the software?

Tesla announced a few of the suite's features would be temporarily "limited or inactive" until a software update is ready. With all this in mind, wouldn't it have made more sense to continue selling the cars with the measly radar in place for the few weeks it says it needs to finish the programming part and announce the change once everything was in place, thus avoiding this hubbub?

Could it be that Tesla was actually in a hurry to cut costs, and these updates it's talking about will actually take much more than the promised weeks? I mean, two years can also be described as one hundred and something weeks, so even if that turns out to be the timeline, Tesla wouldn't have technically been wrong or lied to its customers. Wink, wink.

We've included the incriminated blog post in the Press Release section for everyone curious about what it was that needed covering up
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Press Release
About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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