Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register
  • The latest TMC Podcast (#14) is now available on YouTube and all major podcast networks. We covered FSD Beta's exciting v11 update, Enhanced Autopilot coming to the U.S. and Canada, and more!

Front camera vs front parking sensors: Which provides better protection

Now that I have the front/rear camera switch permanently installed, as well as a new installation of Tesla's parking sensor system, I thought I'd do some tests comparing the protection provided by each. I'm mainly concerned about protecting the lower extremities of the front and rear fascias. I've spent mucho dinaro having them covered in carbon fiber and any damage would be very costly.

Over the next few days I'll be posting a series of photos and videos demonstrating the protection of each and the margin of error.

This first test is protection from striking a curb with the front diffuser lip. The photos below show the parking system graphics, the front camera image, and a photo of the actual parking position in relation to the curb.

If you were totally relying on the parking sensors or camera to judge a safe parking distance from the curb, which would you most trust?

Front bumper Protection

The parking sensor reading/image

DSC_5092.JPG


The front camera image on the touch screen

DSC_5094.JPG


A photo of the actual parking position relative to the curb. That's about a 6" gap.

DSC_5098.jpg
 
Last edited:
We need a side shoot to tell if the curb would go under the front lip. If not all the way maybe 10" so that with the 6" he's away and the sensors would only be 2" off which would be acceptable.

Let me promise you -- the curb would not go under the front lip and would do major damage to the diffuser front if I relied on the sensors. Remember, they're on the nose cone and fascia sides (four in all on the front). The nose cone sensors are 18" from the ground, the fascia ones 20", so it's clear the sensor are "seeing" over the curb to an obstacle further away, likely the grass or sidewalk.

The camera on the other hand is 14" from the ground and every possible obstacle is in view on the touch screen So it's almost impossible to make a mistake if you're paying attention. The image shows that the curb is being nearly touched when it's 6" away -- and that's kind of the error we want.

The seniors on the other hand underestimate the distance of obstacles, or if they're low, like this curb, seem to miss them altogether. That's been my experience with the front sensors since I had the sensors installed. The rear sensors, on the other hand, seems to be spot on.
 
Did you get the parking sensors retrofitted? If so, would you mind sharing how much it cost (did you buy new bumpers or did Tesla drill for you) and how you did it?

What you're illustrating is a key difference in the design and purpose of each system. The camera (including the rear camera) is great when you can see but if they are dirty from rain, road dirt, or it's too dark, the camera utility is reduced. I've personally found the rear view camera a challenge in lower light, low contrast situations like a grey concrete wall in a parking garage. The width of the Model S also has the far edges/corners of the car cut off of the camera's field of view. I don't have artsci's front view implementation but a different front view camera and have found it's more prone to dirt and rain than the rear view (I live in rainy Vancouver, though).

Parking sensors as you've shown are really meant for obstacles that are around bumper height (eg other cars, walls, etc) and they will never see low curbs, and likely will miss posts and skinny objects. That said they are very sensitive for their purpose and very helpful for avoiding objects at the edges of the car, oblique angles that you might not see well with the camera or mirror, and their audible alert makes them more convenient than looking down at a camera image. They are also functional when dirty (unless really covered by thick snow like seen in Bjorn's videos) and are not affected by lighting situations.

I see these tools as complementary to each other. I'm still pursuing a parking sensor retrofit on my car, even though have a form of front view camera already (not as slick as artsci's implementation).
 
Did you get the parking sensors retrofitted? If so, would you mind sharing how much it cost (did you buy new bumpers or did Tesla drill for you) and how you did it?

What you're illustrating is a key difference in the design and purpose of each system. The camera (including the rear camera) is great when you can see but if they are dirty from rain, road dirt, or it's too dark, the camera utility is reduced. I've personally found the rear view camera a challenge in lower light, low contrast situations like a grey concrete wall in a parking garage. The width of the Model S also has the far edges/corners of the car cut off of the camera's field of view. I don't have artsci's front view implementation but a different front view camera and have found it's more prone to dirt and rain than the rear view (I live in rainy Vancouver, though).

Parking sensors as you've shown are really meant for obstacles that are around bumper height (eg other cars, walls, etc) and they will never see low curbs, and likely will miss posts and skinny objects. That said they are very sensitive for their purpose and very helpful for avoiding objects at the edges of the car, oblique angles that you might not see well with the camera or mirror, and their audible alert makes them more convenient than looking down at a camera image. They are also functional when dirty (unless really covered by thick snow like seen in Bjorn's videos) and are not affected by lighting situations.

I see these tools as complementary to each other. I'm still pursuing a parking sensor retrofit on my car, even though have a form of front view camera already (not as slick as artsci's implementation).

I've coated the front and rear camera lenses with GTechniq G1, so water and dirt are much less a problem. But there are times when the rear sensors have saved me -- the audible warning is the trick.

I guest the best of both worlds is the parking sensors and the front and rear camera.

PM me about the parking sensor installation.
 

Products we're discussing on TMC...

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top