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What in the wild wild world of sports is this? Tesla LIDAR?

Randy Spencer

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
3,378
3,338
Alameda, CA
Just walking past the Alameda Supercharger and this guy was there charging. I asked him what I was looking at and he said he could tell me, it's a secret:

IMG_2172.jpeg
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Looks very homemade, but the plates are Tesla's
 

Saghost

Well-Known Member
Oct 9, 2013
8,217
7,008
Delaware
Definitely a bunch of extra sensors for some reason. Those flat plates facing to the rear and a little bit out and down look like phased array radar units. The others look like cameras, but could be something else - the fixed sensor LIDAR in the new iPhone sorta looks like that, maybe.
 

wildag

Member
Jul 3, 2017
112
226
Fairfax, VA
Agreed with the above. That I think was featured in an Electrek article about the camera setup for cyber truck - so they can get a jump on autopilot from the CT perspective.
 
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Galinette

Member
Jan 2, 2018
256
232
Nantes
Looks like plain radars to me, not phased array, especially since there are two of them with a small angle between, which would be useless with a phase array radar.

This is a plain classical automotive radar:
Continental Automotive

I don't know how the car pictures above give any clue there is a phase array radar.

On the other end, it would be strange if Tesla was testing only plain radars, since automotive phase array radars do exist now

Edit : ah, found this Tesla spotted testing prototype with new array of sensors - Electrek
 
Last edited:

Saghost

Well-Known Member
Oct 9, 2013
8,217
7,008
Delaware
Looks like plain radars to me, not phased array, especially since there are two of them with a small angle between, which would be useless with a phase array radar.

This is a plain classical automotive radar:
Continental Automotive

I don't know how the car pictures above give any clue there is a phase array radar.

On the other end, it would be strange if Tesla was testing only plain radars, since automotive phase array radars do exist now

Edit : ah, found this Tesla spotted testing prototype with new array of sensors - Electrek

Without a peak under the covers or a part number, it’s nothing more than a guess.

Those packages say phased array to me because of the flat, square shape. That’s exactly the geometry of a typical phased array, to get the phase timing between elements correct for beam steering.

Other types of radar need different antenna shapes - but a different shape could be hiding under that cover, possibly, if the antenna is a lot smaller.

As for the two with relatively near angles, remember that Tesla is after autonomy these days - which means safe operation with a failed sensor.

There are a number of ways they could accomplish that, but sensor redundancy is one of the easiest, and since beam power falls off as you steer it, they might well choose to point them a little apart to optimize performance when both are operational.
 

Galinette

Member
Jan 2, 2018
256
232
Nantes
Those packages say phased array to me because of the flat, square shape. That’s exactly the geometry of a typical phased array, to get the phase timing between elements correct for beam steering

Conventional automotive radars (non phase array) like the on you have in your Tesla in the front have exactly this square form factor

upload_2020-10-17_10-38-15.jpeg
 

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