The technology currently relies on cameras and radar to operate the car, in the right conditions, without driver intervention. However, other automakers are also including advanced lidar (visible light detection and ranging, or laser radar) systems in their self-driving projects, seemingly leaving Tesla one step behind.
Musk, however, believes Tesla’s setup is so advanced that, with some improvements, it can replicate the details offered by lidar.
The tech-head says that by adapting its current radar systems to compare the shape of objects over time, it can produce lidar-like maps, resulting in at least “moderate” improvements to Autopilot.
Some have suggested that the recent fatal crash involving a Tesla Model S could have been prevented if the car included lidar. It appears that these suggestions have prompted Musk to push for Autopilot improvements to make it almost foolproof and, most importantly, much safer.
He also believes that radar works better in rain and snow and is much less expensive.