Tesla phasing out ultrasonic sensors as it moves toward a camera-only system

Tesla has announced that it's phasing out ultrasonic sensors (USS) used in its EVs to detect short-range obstacles, Electrek has reported. While other automakers use LiDAR, radar and other sensors on top of cameras, Elon Musk's company is determined to use only cameras in its Tesla Vision driver assistance system. 

It will remove the ultrasonic sensors from Model 3 and Model Y vehicles over the next few months, then eliminate them in Model S and Model X models by 2023. They're mainly used for parking and short-range collision warnings, Tesla said.

With the changes, new vehicles not equipped with USS will have some features limited or disabled, including Park Assist that warns of surrounding objects when traveling under 5 MPH, along with Autopark, Summon and Smart Summon. The features will be restored via over-the-air updates "in the near future," once the features perform just as well with the camera-only system, the company said. It believes the changes will not affect the crash safety ratings of these vehicles.

Last year, Tesla started phasing out radar sensors in favor of vision-only Autopilot, tweeting at the time that "vision has much more precision [than radar]." And Musk has previously told employees that if humans can drive cars with binocular vision only, machines should be able to as well, The New York Times reported last year. 

However, Tesla's radar was able to detect potential accidents "two vehicles ahead" that drivers couldn't even see, so that appears to be a safety benefit lost. And when radar was discontinued, the company had a spate of "phantom braking" accidents where the system mistakenly calculated a car was about to collide with something — triggering an NHTSA probe.

Wisk Aero’s latest flying taxi has four seats and can fly itself

Wisk Aero has unveiled its 6th-generation semi-autonomous air taxi, calling it the "first-ever candidate for type certification by the FAA of an autonomous eVTOL." The design looks like a substantially updated version of the "Cora" air taxi we first saw fly and hover in New Zealand back in 2018. However, the company didn't show any flight or detail the certification progress.

According to Wisk, the four-seat aircraft can cruise between 110 and 120 knots (138 MPH) at a height of 2,500 to 4,000 feet above ground level. It's a VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft with a 12-propeller design, featuring tilting propulsion units in front and fixed units aft for lift. It offers up to 90 miles of range and has improved control and efficient energy management over previous versions, according to the press release. 

The promotional video (above) shows passengers buckling in with shoulder harness-style seatbelts and going through a safety procedure demonstration using touchscreens. Wisk says there are "fewer moving parts, no hydraulics, no oil and no fuel," promising a safer flying experience. It also notes that it's "designed to exceed today’s rigorous aviation safety standards of a one-in-a-billion chance of an accident."

The company emphasized the autonomous technology, saying they believe that it's the "key" to air mobility. To that end, they aim to have improved sensors to detect and avoid obstacles, along with "multi-vehicle supervisors that provide human oversight of every flight," and can take control if needed. 

Wick said the new vehicle is a candidate for FAA certification that would allow it to fly passengers in the US. However, getting that coveted piece of paper is an arduous chore even for established airplane manufacturers like Boeing using standard aircraft designs — let alone a new company with a brand new type of aircraft that's never flown passengers before. 

Aviation company Kittyhawk founded by Google co-founder Larry Page recently announced that it was shutting down, a strong indication of the challenges in this sector. Wick essentially sprang from that company, after Kittyhawk partnered with Boeing on the 5th-generation Cora aircraft.

Wick isn't the only company determined to see this air taxi thing through. Joby received FAA authorization for its air taxi services earlier this year, allowing it to operate commercially. However, that only allows it start testing its services — it still needs FAA certification for its prototype aircraft before it can actually transport people. 

Maserati’s first electric GranTurismo is just as sporty as its gas counterpart

Maserati has finally revealed its electric GranTurismo in earnest, and the most interesting part may be what you don't notice. The GranTurismo Folgore coupe offers plenty of power with a tri-motor 760HP system, but it's also as low-slung as the gas versions (the Modena and Trofeo) with a 53.3-inch height. This is the lowest-sitting EV on the market, Maserati claims, with the improved agility to match. If it weren't for the aerodynamic wheels and the lack of exhaust pipes, you might not know it was an EV — even Porsche can't quite manage that.

The Italian brand hasn't detailed range, but the electrified GranTurismo includes a 92.5kWh battery with an 800V architecture that allows up to 270kW charging. You can get 62 miles of range in five minutes, Maserati says. The two-door also beats its combustion engine counterparts' performance with a claimed 0-62MPH time of 2.7 seconds (versus 3.5 for the Trofeo and 3.9 for the Modena) and the same 198.9MPH top speed as the Trofeo.

Maserati GranTurismo Folgore EV
Stellantis

As with the Grecale Folgore SUV, the GranTurismo's cabin tech represents as much of an upgrade over previous models. You'll find a 12.2-inch digital dash, a 12.3-inch central infotainment screen and an 8.8-inch "comfort display." A heads-up display keeps your eyes on the road, and a digital rear-view mirror can use the back camera to help with tricky parking maneuvers. Alexa, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are available. And while this is a sports car, you'l find driver aids like active lane assist, a 3D road view (including nearby vehicles) and a 360-degree view to help navigate tight spots.

Maserati didn't mention pricing or exact availability, although it's safe to presume the GranTurismo Folgore will be expensive. Not that the company necessarily minds. In some ways, this is a shot across the bow of local sports car rivals like Ferrari and Lamborghini. While both those brands have offered hybrids like the SF90 Stradale and Sian, they've been reluctant to embrace full EVs. Maserati is effectively the only option if you want an Italian exotic without the massive emissions and equally large fuel bills.

Tesla built 365,923 electric vehicles in Q3, up 42 percent from Q2

After pandemic-related disruptions in Q2, Tesla ramped up its manufacturing capacity again last quarter, leading the company to make a record number of deliveries between July 1st and September 30th. The company built 365,923 electric vehicles during the period. That marks a year over-year production increase of nearly 54 percent, as Tesla manufactured 237,823 cars in Q3 2021. Production was also up by 41.5 percent from Q2 2022, when the automaker built 258,580 vehicles.

The company produced 19,935 Model S and Model X cars in Q3 and delivered 18,672. For the Model 3 and Model Y, those figures were 345,988 and 345,988, respectively. In total, Tesla says it was able to deliver 343,830 vehicles in Q3, the most it has delivered in any quarter to date. However, that was below expectations, according to Reuters. On average, analysts anticipated that Tesla would deliver 359,162 EVs during the quarter.

Tesla built around 20,000 more vehicles that it was able to deliver during Q3. "As our production volumes continue to grow, it is becoming increasingly challenging to secure vehicle transportation capacity and at a reasonable cost during these peak logistics weeks," Tesla said in a statement.

CEO Elon Musk noted last year that Tesla sees a significant increase in deliveries at the end of every quarter. That's because the Shanghai Gigafactory, which recently built its 1 millionth car, manufactures EVs bound for Europe and other countries in the first half of each quarter, "then cars for far away parts of China, then cars for nearby parts of China," Musk said.

"In Q3, we began transitioning to a more even regional mix of vehicle builds each week, which led to an increase in cars in transit at the end of the quarter," Tesla said. "These cars have been ordered and will be delivered to customers upon arrival at their destination."

The number of cars Tesla manufactured and delivered dropped dramatically in Q2 2022. It was forced to suspend work at the Shanghai factory in March due to a COVID-19 outbreak in China. Production at the plant has resumed, while recently opened Gigafactories in Berlin and Texas have helped the company significantly improve its manufacturing numbers. We'll learn more about what the uptick in production and deliveries means for Tesla's bottom line when the company announces its Q3 financial results on October 19th.

Tesla built 365,923 electric vehicles in Q3, up 42 percent from Q2

After pandemic-related disruptions in Q2, Tesla ramped up its manufacturing capacity again last quarter, leading the company to make a record number of deliveries between July 1st and September 30th. The company built 365,923 electric vehicles during the period. That marks a year over-year production increase of nearly 54 percent, as Tesla manufactured 237,823 cars in Q3 2021. Production was also up by 41.5 percent from Q2 2022, when the automaker built 258,580 vehicles.

The company produced 19,935 Model S and Model X cars in Q3 and delivered 18,672. For the Model 3 and Model Y, those figures were 345,988 and 345,988, respectively. In total, Tesla says it was able to deliver 343,830 vehicles in Q3, the most it has delivered in any quarter to date. However, that was below expectations, according to Reuters. On average, analysts anticipated that Tesla would deliver 359,162 EVs during the quarter.

Tesla built around 20,000 more vehicles that it was able to deliver during Q3. "As our production volumes continue to grow, it is becoming increasingly challenging to secure vehicle transportation capacity and at a reasonable cost during these peak logistics weeks," Tesla said in a statement.

CEO Elon Musk noted last year that Tesla sees a significant increase in deliveries at the end of every quarter. That's because the Shanghai Gigafactory, which recently built its 1 millionth car, manufactures EVs bound for Europe and other countries in the first half of each quarter, "then cars for far away parts of China, then cars for nearby parts of China," Musk said.

"In Q3, we began transitioning to a more even regional mix of vehicle builds each week, which led to an increase in cars in transit at the end of the quarter," Tesla said. "These cars have been ordered and will be delivered to customers upon arrival at their destination."

The number of cars Tesla manufactured and delivered dropped dramatically in Q2 2022. It was forced to suspend work at the Shanghai factory in March due to a COVID-19 outbreak in China. Production at the plant has resumed, while recently opened Gigafactories in Berlin and Texas have helped the company significantly improve its manufacturing numbers. We'll learn more about what the uptick in production and deliveries means for Tesla's bottom line when the company announces its Q3 financial results on October 19th.

Watch Tesla’s AI Day 2022 event at 9:15PM ET

Tesla is holding another AI Day, and it'll be particularly easy to tune in. The automaker is streaming its 2022 event tonight at 9:15PM Eastern on YouTube (below) as well as its website. Elon Musk has warned the presentation will be "highly technical" and could last six hours, but you may have multiple reasons to watch even if you're not fond of diagrams and in-depth explanations.

Notably, Musk said in June that Tesla pushed AI Day to September 30th in hopes of having a functional Optimus humanoid robot. It would just be a prototype, but it would show that the company's vision of an autonomous helper exists beyond pretty 3D renders. The machine is meant to handle dangerous or monotonous tasks without requiring step-by-step instructions.

You could also see improvements to Tesla's vehicle technology. The company's Full Self-Driving feature is still rough, and Tesla might explain how it plans to refine the system. You could also see upgrades to Autopilot driver assistance. Behind the scenes, the company may expand the capabilities of the Dojo supercomputer it uses to train vision-based AI systems.

Watch Tesla’s AI Day 2022 event at 9:15PM ET

Tesla is holding another AI Day, and it'll be particularly easy to tune in. The automaker is streaming its 2022 event tonight at 9:15PM Eastern on YouTube (below) as well as its website. Elon Musk has warned the presentation will be "highly technical" and could last six hours, but you may have multiple reasons to watch even if you're not fond of diagrams and in-depth explanations.

Notably, Musk said in June that Tesla pushed AI Day to September 30th in hopes of having a functional Optimus humanoid robot. It would just be a prototype, but it would show that the company's vision of an autonomous helper exists beyond pretty 3D renders. The machine is meant to handle dangerous or monotonous tasks without requiring step-by-step instructions.

You could also see improvements to Tesla's vehicle technology. The company's Full Self-Driving feature is still rough, and Tesla might explain how it plans to refine the system. You could also see upgrades to Autopilot driver assistance. Behind the scenes, the company may expand the capabilities of the Dojo supercomputer it uses to train vision-based AI systems.

New York joins California in aiming to make all auto sales hybrid or EV by 2035

New York is following California's lead by mandating that all new cars, pickups and SUVs sold in the state must be either EVs or plug-in hybrids, Governor Kathy Hochul announced. To reach that goal, 35 percent of new cars must be zero-emission by 2026 and 60 percent by 2030. New school buses must also be zero emissions by 2035. A public hearing will be held before the rules are put into place.

Hochul ordered the state's environmental agency to create similar standards to those adopted by California that phases out all fossil-fuel-only car sales by 2035. Those rules went into last month and were designed to reduce passenger vehicle pollution 25 percent by 2037, with 9.5 fewer internal-combustion engine (ICE) only vehicles sold by 2035.

“We had to wait for California to take a step because there’s some federal requirements that California had to go first — that’s the only time we’re letting them go first,” the governor said in a press conference yesterday.

The state is following California's actions for a reason. The Clean Air Act permits California to set its own pollution rules, but other states aren't allowed to do that. However, they can follow California once it acts — so California must pave the way for any emissions rules implemented by individual states.

The governor also unveiled a $10 million Drive Clean Rebate Program. That gives residents a $2,000 rebate toward the purchase of over 60 EVs and plug-in hybrids that's on top of the $7,500 federal tax rebate. The state has spent $92 million on the program to date. The state also announced the installation of its 100th fast charger as part of the EVolve charging network. 

"With sustained state and federal investments, our actions are incentivizing New Yorkers, local governments, and businesses to make the transition to electric vehicles," Hochul said.

New York joins California in aiming to make all auto sales hybrid or EV by 2035

New York is following California's lead by mandating that all new cars, pickups and SUVs sold in the state must be either EVs or plug-in hybrids, Governor Kathy Hochul announced. To reach that goal, 35 percent of new cars must be zero-emission by 2026 and 60 percent by 2030. New school buses must also be zero emissions by 2035. A public hearing will be held before the rules are put into place.

Hochul ordered the state's environmental agency to create similar standards to those adopted by California that phases out all fossil-fuel-only car sales by 2035. Those rules went into last month and were designed to reduce passenger vehicle pollution 25 percent by 2037, with 9.5 fewer internal-combustion engine (ICE) only vehicles sold by 2035.

“We had to wait for California to take a step because there’s some federal requirements that California had to go first — that’s the only time we’re letting them go first,” the governor said in a press conference yesterday.

The state is following California's actions for a reason. The Clean Air Act permits California to set its own pollution rules, but other states aren't allowed to do that. However, they can follow California once it acts — so California must pave the way for any emissions rules implemented by individual states.

The governor also unveiled a $10 million Drive Clean Rebate Program. That gives residents a $2,000 rebate toward the purchase of over 60 EVs and plug-in hybrids that's on top of the $7,500 federal tax rebate. The state has spent $92 million on the program to date. The state also announced the installation of its 100th fast charger as part of the EVolve charging network. 

"With sustained state and federal investments, our actions are incentivizing New Yorkers, local governments, and businesses to make the transition to electric vehicles," Hochul said.

The Polestar 3 electric SUV will debut on October 12th

Polestar's first electric SUV will get its official unveiling on October 12th with a host of premium features, the Swedish company announced. The Polestar 3 will launch with premium features like an air suspension, active dampers and torque vectoring, putting it up against other SUV EVs like the Mercedes-Benz EQS, Rivian R1S and Tesla Model X. Like those models, it'll be manufactured in the US at Volvo's factory in Charleston, South Carolina.

The company, co-owned by Volvo and Chinese parent Geely, revealed a fair bit of information about the Polestar 3. That includes a new glimpse from the back showing similar (but upside down) taillights to the Polestar 2. Polestar previously showed off the design from the side in June (below). 

Polestar reveals glimpse of its electric SUV set to launch on October 12th
Polestar

The Polestar 3 will come with a rear-biased dual-motor powertrain similar to the one on the Polestar 2, with electric torque vectoring via a dual clutch system on the rear motor. The ride will be controlled by an adaptive dual-chamber air suspension and active dampers as standard, letting drivers switch between comfort and firm suspension dynamics. The dampers will adjust to suit road conditions "once every two milliseconds," Polestar said.

The optional Performance Pack will deliver 510 horsepower and 671 pound-feet of torque (compared to 670 horsepower for the Model X). It also includes Polestar Engineered chassis tuning for the active dampers and air suspension, along with interior details like gold seat belts. 

Previously, the company has said that it's shooting for a 372-mile range on the European WLTP cycle (so considerably less in EPA terms). It'll also include a semi-autonomous driving system for highway driving, enabled by by NVIDIA tech and a lidar sensor — Volvo is likely to use similar tech on its next-gen EX90 SUV set to launch on November 9th. Rumors have pegged the Polestar 3's price at somewhere between $75,000 and $111,000 at launch.