19. August 2019 by Matt Pressman
The race for fully autonomous vehicles is on. In April, Elon Musk stated that Tesla should have over one million Level 5 autonomous vehicles produced by 2020. To clarify, that means over a million cars equipped with the necessary hardware capable of to drive without the help of a driver. Of course, it is conditional on the software being ready. In addition, government approvals will be necessary (read: mandatory) long before self-driving Teslas will be common.
In addition, Musk also sparked some lively debate when he commented that Tesla will not rely on lidar, the laser sensor technology that self-driving cars from many other companies (especially Google's Waymo) currently rely on to "see" lines on the road, pedestrians and more.
According to Ars Technica experts in autonomous vehicles (AV), continues to conflict with which technological approach will ultimately prevail.
"They're going to dump lidar," Elon Musk said after showing off Tesla's self-driving technology earlier this year. "Everyone who is addicted to lidar is doomed."
"Lidar is really a shortcut," added Tesla's Autopilot leader Andrej Karpathy. "It intersects the basic visual recognition problems necessary for autonomy. It gives a false sense of progress and is ultimately a crutch. "
| A Look at the Different Sensors Used in Attempting to Achieve Full Car Autonomy by Various Players Around the World (Source: The Zebra )  Meanwhile, Cornell researchers recently published a research paper which offered some support for Musk's position on lidar. But Bharath Hariharan, co-author of the Cornell paper, also hesitated a little when he told Ars Technica “In general, it is probably an advantage to combine multiple sensors [too]… The more information you have and the different ways you have to estimate depth, the better. ”
For the technically savvy crowd, Musk's bold predictions for autonomy indicate exciting steps toward an inevitable future. However, the timeline for achieving that future, as always with Elon Musk, may be a little too ambitious . However, most of the audience has not yet come on board with AV's. According to a recent AAA survey, three out of four Americans who are aware of AVs are too scared to ride one.
→ Related: If GM / Cruise Is Way Behind Waymo, How Does It Compare to Tesla?  Some of that arrest is likely to disappear as more of the audience begins to interact, first-hand, with ever-improving driver assistance systems like Tesla's Autopilot. Once exposed, the idea of a fully autonomous future should begin to appear increasingly achievable over time.
In addition, education will help AVs gain greater appeal. Sure, most people don't need to know the detailed technical details of how AVs work, but some general knowledge of AVs can improve acceptance. The animated infographic below from The Zebra is a good place to start. It explains the autonomy of basic vehicles (including lidar) for those hoping to understand some of the basics of self-driving cars.
Infographic courtesy The Zebra