Tesla Model 3 Project Highland is no longer a secret, the cat has been out of the bag for a while now. We have seen the updated Model 3 covered in camouflage several times, we have seen reports of Project Highland's intended production start date, and now we have more information about what’s under those covers.
Although some changes coming to Model 3 are purely cosmetic - like its rear bumper - the majority of them are either cost driven or are forced by new Hardware 4 components. Hardware 4 is Tesla’s latest autonomous driving package, coming with all ancillary cameras and sensors.
The updated Tesla Model 3 is getting new headlights, so the front bumper also needed a redesign. The company took advantage of that to provide better aerodynamic performance. There will be a new camera fitted in the front bumper, which is a new approach for Tesla, first seen in the production-ready Cybertruck.
On the sides the fender camera housing will sport two cameras from now on. While before the fender camera was facing backward and monitoring the blind spot and everything else that was happening behind the car, the new additional unit will look towards the front of the car. That way the front blind spot is completely covered and it should stop the Tesla Model 3 from creeping up into the cross traffic at junctions when in auto-mode.
The final part of the Hardware 4 upgrade is the central windshield housing with high-definition radar and an additional camera, just like the one we have already seen on the updated Model S and Model X. According to the source, mirrors are getting a gentle refresh as well to make them more in-line with the new Model 3 look.
The interior will be treated to new materials, the wooden inserts are going to be replaced with fabric and the dashboard is getting a slight redesign at the same time. Other interior changes will be minor and focused on improving production.
It turns out that Tesla is not only fitting more cameras to the updated Model 3, but the company is also replacing the current 1.2MP sensors with vastly improved ones of 5MP resolution. To top it off, the cameras will hide behind anti-glare treated glass to address the issues faced by the FSD when driving in adverse weather conditions.
After removing ultrasonic sensors from its vehicles, Tesla is taking out the temperature sensor now. In a move apparently dictated by cost savings, the company will replace the temperature readings from the sensors with weather data available online. It will determine the vehicle’s position thanks to the improved multi-band GPS receiver and pull weather data from online sources.
This is a fairly long list of improvements, the new cameras and visual changes are a step forward, and the new GPS receiver will make the satnav more accurate and will help the FSD do its tricky job. Some people will be disappointed by the missing temperature sensor, but overall - Project Highland is a decent upgrade for Tesla Model 3.
The upgraded Model 3 is going into production sometime in September if everything goes according to Tesla’s plan. The company is already working on bringing the same updates to Model Y which has been codenamed Project Juniper and will go into production early next year.
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