Tesla presented its latest and greatest vehicle autonomy features at its Autonomy Investor Day. The brain of the system is the Tesla Full Self-Driving Computer (FSD), which is now included in all Tesla systems produced. The autopilot hardware suite includes 8 cameras, 12 ultrasonic sensors, radar, GPS, an inertial measurement unit, and sensors that measure the angle of the steering wheel and accelerator pedal.
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Top: Tesla's Camera and Waymos Lidar (Photos: Tesla / Waymo)
One feature that does not have it is LIDAR, a technology that uses pulsed laser light to measure the distance to a target, and that will preferred by most other companies operating autonomous driving (Uber, Waymo, Cruise). In his presentation on Autonomy Investor Day, the always iconoclastic Elon Musk Lidar dismissed in terms reminiscent of those describing hydrogen fuel cells. Lidar is "a fool," he said. It's "expensive" and "unnecessary," and "anyone who relies on Lidar is doomed to fail, it's like having a bunch of expensive attachments – for example, an appendage is bad, now you've got a whole bunch That's ridiculous, you'll see. "
As TechCrunch reports, Lidar's advocates claim that they can see through unfavorable conditions like rain, fog, or dust better than cameras – the downsides are that it's expensive That's why the Tesla system relies on cameras Andrej Karpathy, senior director of AI, explained that visual recognition gives a better picture of the real world – he said lidar systems had problems, things like the difference between a plastic bag and a rubber tire. "In that sense, Lidar is really an abbreviation," Karpathy said. "They bypass the fundamental problem, the important problem of visual recognition s is necessary for autonomy. It gives a false sense of progress and is ultimately a crutch. "
Together with cameras, Tesla relies on the vast neural network of real driving information recorded by thousands of Tesla autopilot vehicles on the road. Using various AI techniques, Tesla teaches that his system recognizes and responds to the diverse situations that can occur in the outdoors.
"Everyone trains the network all the time," Musk said. "Whether autopilot is on or off, the network is being trained. Every mile for the car that is [equipped with Autopilot Hardware version 2 or above] trains the network. "
Above: Anthony Levandowski, former Google / Waymo engineer, now retreats to Lidar and says, "Elon is right" (Youtube: TechCrunch)
Some autonomy experts agree with Musk match. As Gizmodo reports, Cornell researchers argue that cameras can compete with lidar if properly mounted. Lidar systems are designed to provide a 3D image of the surroundings of a vehicle and the road in the future, which is why they are often mounted on a vehicle to obtain the best vantage point. However, in a presentation presented at the forthcoming conference on computer vision and pattern recognition, the Cornell team explains that a few inexpensive cameras mounted behind the windshield of a vehicle can produce stereoscopic images that are almost as accurate in 3D Data that was converted by lidar at a fraction of the cost.
Mashable reports that British startup Wayve is a member of the camp, which does not require a lidar. The company says it does not need multiple data sources – just a GPS system, cameras and a powerful computer are enough to teach cars both driving and people.
Other players do not agree. A Chinese autonomous car company called AutoX used a camera-based self-propelled system in 2017, but added lidar sensors to their vehicles for redundancy and extra effort.
Musk is not completely opposed to Lidar – SpaceX uses some applications. For the autonomy of the vehicles, however, he believes that the sensors from Tesla and the fund of real driving data will be sufficient.
Written by: Charles Morris; Source: TechCrunch, Gizmodo, Mashable
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