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Tesla Purchases $2 Million Worth of Lidar

image of Tesla buys lidar sensors

Elon Musk doesn’t like lidar, the laser sensor that powers many companies’ self-driving ambitions. He previously called it a “crutch” and said any company that relies on lidar for its autonomous capabilities was “doomed.” Well, apparently Tesla is stocking up on crutches.

From an article in the Verge by Andrew Hawkins.

In its quarterly earnings report released today, Orlando-based lidar manufacturer Luminar disclosed that Tesla was its “largest LiDAR customer in Q1,” comprising more than 10 percent of the company’s revenue for the quarter. That translates to around $2.1 million worth of lidar, based on Luminar’s $21 million in revenue for the quarter.

In fact, Tesla bought so much lidar from Luminar, it helped offset a quarter-over-quarter drop in revenue, driven by a lower volume of sensors to non-automotive companies. Tesla to the rescue. (Not totally: Luminar said last week that it was laying off around 20 percent of its workforce. Tesla also is laying off employees.)

It’s a remarkable reversal for Tesla, which has famously winnowed down over the years the number of sensors it uses to power its advanced driver-assist features like Autopilot and Full Self-Driving — features that Musk has constantly sold as a precursor to a fully autonomous vehicle fleet. Later this year, Tesla is expected to reveal a robotaxi prototype on which Musk is betting the future of his company.

Musk’s lidar allergy was even on display during Tesla’s own quarterly earnings call, in which he boasted about how his vehicles only rely on camera-based vision systems to power their driver-assist features.

“It is obvious that our solution with a relatively low-cost inference computer and standard cameras can achieve self-driving,” Musk said. “No lidars, no radars, ultrasonic. Nothing.”

For the complete article on Tesla CLICK HERE.

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