Lidar Needed for Autonomous Vehicles

The animation in the instrument cluster shows the detected vehicles moving around you but no pedestrians, cyclists or traffic signals (photo credit: Sam Abuelsamid)

The animation in the instrument cluster shows the detected vehicles moving around you but no pedestrians, cyclists or traffic signals (photo credit: Sam Abuelsamid)

Last week a person was killed while using the Tesla autopilot system. Elon Musk has taken the position that lidar is not required for autonomous driving, but this article in Forbes questions that belief.

From the article:

“The more fundamental problem is the sensor suite that Tesla has installed on its current production models. Autopilot relies on a single monovision camera system from Mobileye, a forward-facing radar sensor, two side-facing radars in the back corners and 12 ultrasonic sensors. Unlike seemingly just about every other autonomous system from a major automaker or supplier, lidar, a technology that uses lasers to measure distance, is conspicuously absent.

At the launch of Autopilot in October 2015, Musk made it clear that he doesn’t think lidar is necessary or even desirable for autonomous vehicle applications. Given the description that Tesla issued of the crash with a white truck against a brightly lit sky, it’s not entirely surprising that a camera failed to adequately recognize it.”

 

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One Response to Lidar Needed for Autonomous Vehicles

  1. Garrick says:

    The physics of “seeing” is complicated, I’m sure most if not all readers appreciate this. As alluded to in the last paragraph, the system involved in this tragic accident was “blind” to the obstruction immediately before it. Undoubtedly, all of us can recall occurrences momentary blindness created by light and image interference while driving. Extremely curious that Elon Musk would err on the side of more risk. Such a lack of redundancy would surely make a successful landing on Mars much, much less likely, for example.

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