Tesla is quietly removing critical self-driving components from its cars

Tesla has reportedly decided to remove one of the two electronic control units from the steering racks of some Chinese-made Model 3 and Model Y cars to meet fourth-quarter sales targets while addressing global chip shortages .

Credits: Tesla

According to information from CNBC, it appears that Tesla had to make some important decisions to reduce the shortage of chips while meeting its production targets. Indeed, the company would have decided to remove one of the two electronic control units included in the steering racks of certain Model 3 and Model Y cars manufactured in China and delivered to Europe.

The problem is that Tesla failed to tell buyers what it had done. According to CNBC, there was a debate internally about whether or not to notify customers, but Tesla ultimately chose not to disclose the change. This is not the first time that Tesla has removed components from its cars, since some Model 3 and Model Y were delivered last year without USB ports.

The Tesla Model 3 and Y are deprived of autonomous driving?

CNBC reports that Tesla employees said in internal memos that the steering rack control unit was critical to level 3 autonomous driving. Tesla vehicles still operate at Level 2, according to SAE standards, and the lack of a second chip does not present a safety concern.

The report states that the removed control unit was considered a secondary system and served primarily as a backup in case of problems with the primary chip. Tesla therefore removed the chip because engineers deemed it redundant. The absence of the chip should save Tesla money in the short term and meet its production targets. Tesla reportedly shipped nearly a million vehicles in 2021, and analysts already expected the company to manage to ship double that in 2022 thanks to new Gigafactory in Texas and Berlin.

However, cars affected by the removal of this steering control unit will be unable to become more autonomous than they already are, and for example could not support future level 3 versions of the FSD software. For now, it is not known whether or not customers who received a car with this chip removed can claim it for free in the future.

Source: CNBC

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