Tesla has been spotted testing a new sensor on its vehicles for the third time in a month. This time, it appears the company has rigged up a Model S with a new sensor above the windshield at the Sunnyvale test lab in California. The sighting follows two sightings of a Model 3 with two extra sensors toward the car’s rear, in the same week that one analyst predicted the Model 3 would come with a more advanced Autopilot function.
On Monday, Electrek posted images from an anonymous source that showed a sensor with wires trailing into the car’s Autopilot computer. Site reader Luis Fialho noted that it looks a lot like a pyranometer manufactured by Huskeflux. These are used to measure solar radiation, but it’s unclear what Tesla could be using one for.
Reddit users are speculating that the sensor could be collecting data for putting solar panels onto a Tesla, while others believe it may be the company simply testing to see how the system copes under different sunlight conditions.
The wires are leading to the Nvidia Drive PX2 computer located behind a panel under the glove box. The company is planning a software update that would enable full autonomy, and Elon Musk has said the existing computer may need to be swapped out. However, Tesla has stayed firm that the sensors shipping on Hardware 2-powered cars, released in October, provide enough information to enable full autonomy.