It Sure Would Be Nice if Teslas Had a Real Birds-Eye View Display

It Sure Would Be Nice if Teslas Had a Real Birds-Eye View Display

Tesla, the electric vehicle company owned by Elon Musk and soon releasing a refresh of its most popular Australian model, is getting a Christmas update. You know, like a video game might get a seasonal update, bringing with it a bunch of new features and bug fixes, but as a car.

Christmas updates are common from Tesla, but this year might be a little bit different, with the company showing off ‘High Fidelity Park Assist’ as one of the new features. At first glance, Tesla’s new feature looks sort of like the birds-eye view you can experience on so many non-Tesla EVs, but it’s really not the same.

This update was brought to my attention by The Driven, by way of Alex Kidman, in which the folks over there say that Tesla is adding the ‘highly requested bird’s-eye view’ display.

But it’s not that simple. The 360-camera birds-eye view camera involves a complex mix of hardware and software, made up of dozens of wide-angle cameras surrounding the car, which stitch their views together to form what appears to be a surround-car view. Hyundai, Polestar, Kia, and many other carmakers have been doing this for years, but what Tesla has shown so far really isn’t the same (The lead image of this article shows what appears to be Tesla’s 3D reconstruction assistance on the left, and what Hyundai has been offering for years on the right).

This is best explored in Auto Evolution’s post on the update. According to the publication, Teslas are incapable of producing a birds-eye view similar to that in the Polestar or Kia because the cameras on the Model S, 3, X, and Y are too narrow. If the birds-eye vision is to work, then the cameras require 180-degree fields of view around the car, and Auto Evolution reckons a Tesla would need to add four more cameras for this to work. I don’t buy Tesla’s vision of a driverless future one bit, so arguments that birds-eye view displays are irrelevant don’t fly with me.

Up until now, or at least since the middle of 2022, the closest thing to a birds-eye view Tesla owners have had is the multi-camera view – but it is absolutely not the same. There’s also the company’s vision parking assist, but that’s a bit finicky too.

But, hey, we’re still yet to see Tesla’s ‘High Fidelity Park Assist’ in action, and maybe it will surprise us. I’m not sure what good a 3D reconstruction of my parking environment will actually be like, rather than simply showing me a surroundings map for navigating tight space, but let’s wait and see.

I love the birds-eye view display; most of the EVs I’ve reviewed have had it, and it is tremendously useful when navigating a tight car park. My car spot at home is shit, so I truly appreciate it when a car comes with the stitched 360 camera. Unsurprisingly, of the many EVs that I’ve driven, the Tesla Model Y was the hardest to park. This isn’t me being a Tesla critic, I think Teslas are mostly good, but I really wish they had proper birds-eye view.

Alongside the park assist feature, Tesla owners are also getting… Blind spot indicators, in the form of red shading on the display “when your turn signal is on and a car is detected in your blind spot,” according to Tesla. It’s weird that Teslas didn’t have this for so long, and physical blind-spot indicators were only added in 2023 with the Model 3 refresh.

The update rolls out this week over-the-air.

Image: Zachariah Kelly/Gizmodo Australia

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