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Tesla Autopilot Still Not Using Lidar

photo of Elon Musk Tesla Autopilot

Way back in 2015, Tesla CEO Elon Musk would frequently give his engineers an earful after his car company’s infamous Tesla Autopilot driver assistance tech nearly got him killed during test drives on multiple occasions — though there’s a chance its dangerous behavior may have been due to Musk’s stubbornness on how the technology should be built.

From an article in Yahoo News by Frank Landymore.

The scoop comes from Walter Isaacson’s new biography of the tech magnate, simply titled “Elon Musk.” Per its chapter on the launch of the driver assistance tech, Musk would learn firsthand that a curve on Interstate 405 caused Autopilot, thrown off by the road’s faded lane lines, to steer into and “almost hit” oncoming traffic.

Whenever this happened, Musk would “furiously” storm into the Tesla office and proceed to chew out his engineers.

“Do something to program this right,” he repeatedly demanded, as quoted in the biography.

LiDAR Letdown

For anyone who knows a thing or two about Musk’s treatment of employees behind the scenes, that tracks.

But if Musk wanted safer software, he perhaps should’ve listened to his engineers, who have frequently petitioned over the years to incorporate what’s known as light detection and ranging technology, or LiDAR.

LiDAR is essentially radar that uses light instead of sound, and Tesla’s competitors, including Google’s Waymo, have long leveraged it to help their autonomous cars “see.”

Musk, however, has insisted that Tesla’s cars only use optical sensors, likening it to how humans primarily use their eyes to drive, according to the biography, and as such, he’s been tepid on using plain old radar, too.

As well as being a matter of arbitrary principle to him, there’s also the matter of cost: ditching LiDAR makes manufacturing cheaper, according to Musk.

For the complete article on Tesla Autopilot CLICK HERE.

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