Tesla presented its latest and greatest vehicle autonomy features on its latest Investor Day Autonomy. The brain of the system is the Tesla Full Self-Driving (FSD) computer, which is now included in all Teslas products. The autopilot hardware suite includes 8 cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, radar, GPS, an inertial measuring unit and sensors that measure the angle of the steering wheel and accelerator pedal.
- This article comes to us by law by EVANNEX (which also allows aftermarket Tesla accessories). Posted by Charles Morris. Tesla's Camera and Waymo's Lidar (Pictures: Tesla / Waymo)
A feature it doesn't have is LIDAR, a technology that uses pulsed laser light to measure the distance to a target, and is favored by most others companies that work with autonomous driving (Uber, Waymo, Cruise). In his autonomous Investor Day presentation, the eternally iconoclastic Elon Musk rejected little in shape reminiscent of those he used to describe hydrogen fuel cells. Lidar is "an idiot is erratic," he said. It is "expensive" and "unnecessary" and "everyone who trusts the lidar is doomed. It's like having a whole lot of expensive attachments. As one attachment is bad, well now you have a whole bunch of them. That's ridiculous , you want to see. "
As TechCrunch reports, proponents of lidar tell their ability to look through adverse conditions such as rain, mist or dust better than cameras. Disadvantages are that it is expensive and consumes a lot of power, and so Tesla's system is dependent on cameras. Andrei Karpathy, Senior Director of AI, explained that visual recognition provides a better picture of the real world – he said lidar systems have trouble distinguishing things like the difference between a plastic bag and a rubber tire. "That way, suffering is really a shortcut," said Karpathy. "It sidestep the fundamental problem, the important problem of visual recognition, which is necessary for autonomy. It gives a false sense of progress, and ultimately is a crutch." of vehicle information recorded by the thousands of Autopilot-equipped Tesla vehicles on the road. By using different AI techniques, Tesla learns his system to recognize and respond to the vast array of situations that can arise in nature.
"Everybody is training the network all the time," said Musk. "If Autopilot is on or off, the network is being trained. Every kilometer run for the car that is [equipped with Autopilot Hardware version 2 or above] trains the network."
Above: Anthony Levandowski, Former Google / Waymo Engineer, Now Trackback on lidar and says "Elon is right" (Youtube: TechCrunch)
Some autonomous experts agree with Musk. As Gizmodo reports, Cornell researchers claim that cameras can be rivaled if properly mounted. Lidar systems are designed to provide a 3D image of a vehicle's environment and the road ahead, and therefore they are often mounted on top of a vehicle for the best viewpoint. In a paper presented at the upcoming conference on data vision and pattern recognition, the Cornell team explains that a pair of cheap cameras mounted behind a car's windshield can produce stereoscopic images that can be converted to 3D data almost as precisely as generated by lidar, to a fraction of the cost.
Mashable reports that British startup Wayve is a member of the non-member camp. The company says it doesn't need more data sources – just a GPS system, cameras, and a powerful computer are all that are required to teach cars to drive as well as humans.
Other players do not agree. A Chinese autonomous driving company called AutoX deployed a camera-based self-drive system in 2017, but has now added lidar sensors to their vehicles for redundancy and additional entry.
Musk is not quite the opposite lidar – SpaceX uses it in some applications. For automotive autonomy, however, he believes that Tesla's sensor suite and trove of real world data will be quite sufficient.
Posted by: Charles Morris; Source: TechCrunch, Gizmodo, Mashable
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