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Tesla is following in the steps of an unlikely rival: Subaru

June 18, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 20.1%. 2 min read.

A Tesla Inc. Model S electric vehicle for sale outside a dealership at the Easton Town Center Mall in Columbus, Ohio, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. The U.S. Census Bureau is scheduled to release retail sales figures on January 15. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Tesla has long led the auto industry — sometimes controversially — with its driver-assist system Autopilot. Now, it finds itself suddenly following the lead of an unlikely rival: Subaru.

Tesla announced last month that it's no longer including radar for driver-assist systems on its best-selling vehicles, the Model 3 and Y, and will instead rely on cameras for Autopilot in those new models, a break with the prevailing industry wisdom on driver-assist technology.

Tesla and Subaru suddenly have something in common, as the only automakers to exclusively trust cameras for driver-assist technology.

He points to Tesla placing some limits on the new camera-only version of Autopilot as evidence that the driver-assist technology is not as good as when it used cameras and radar.

Tesla has not announced if or when it will transition old Teslas with radar to the camera-only version of Autopilot.

such as Glen de Vos, chief technology officer of Aptiv, which supplies driver-assist systems to automakers, say that cameras will never be as good as radar at measuring speed, and they're best used in combination with radar.

Experts say radar measures the velocity of a lead vehicle more directly than cameras, allowing for faster and more accurate recognition of the need to slam on the brakes in an unsafe situation.

Subaru has sold more than a million cars with EyeSight since 2013, whereas most automakers rely on camera and radar for these features.

Subaru spokesman Todd Hill said Eyesight's cameras can measure distance so radar isn't needed.

But there are some differences in the Tesla and Subaru approaches to cameras, which may be problematic for Tesla, experts say.

Autonomous driving experts like Ram Machness, chief business officer at the radar startup Arbe Robotics, and Eben Frankenberg, CEO of the radar startup Echodyne, say sensors like cameras and radar all have strengths and weaknesses.

Machness told CNN Business he was concerned Tesla's automatic emergency braking on radar-less models would decline in quality, especially in poor visibility, where it is needed most, he said.

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