Tesla under pressure to adopt new Lidar technology for its Autopilot

Source: autoweek.com

Tesla is under pressure that seems to be pouring down on them by the lidar industry to upgrade its self-driving cars and adopt the technology which up to date has received some resistance by Elon Musk – Tesla boss.

The lidar technology is a light radar or light ranging or detecting that works by measuring the distance between the product and an oncoming object with a laser that is not visible to human beings in order to determine what it will take it to return. Already, other companies like Uber and Google who are also into the developing autonomous cars are using it.

According to Efficient Power Conversion company founder, Alex Lidow, the lidar will in a short to come become so small that it will not cost much and become as common as ABS brakes are at the present. He also criticized Musk and Tesla for having reservations about lidar pointing out the technology would have prevented an accident that claimed a life in the early part of the year.

Lidar technology gives direct 3D images he added, with a lesser margin for error than the radar. It sits on the roof of the car so as to be able to capture what is going on around the car and emits one billion pulse light in seconds with its 64 lasers. He also dismissed claims that lidar is unable to see through a bad weather noting it sees much more than the human eyes can.

Yes, radar can see objects and also is able to tell how far apart the object is, however, it cannot describe the shape of the object which is something that lidar can do. This is why it is possible for lidar to be able to tell if it is a car, bikes, pedestrians, truck, or wildlife that is approaching.

Still referring to the crash in May this year that claimed the life of Joshua Brown – a Tesla Model S owner, Lidow said that had the lidar being in place that accident would have been averted.

Tesla is to release an update on the over-the-air software for its Model X and S that has the Autopilot installed. With the upgrade, the Autopilot will be able to make changes to its user interface as well as the features of the software. This is expected to come in latest 21st of September this year, Musk said, pointing out that it has the ability to have averted Brown’s death had it been in place.

Lidow is of the opinion that lidar will follow suit with other automotive technologies. Just like ABS brakes, the airbags, and traction control had been accepted and used in almost every automobile under production, the lidar will also work its way up and remain there he said.

According to Musk in 2015 October, Google’s adoption of lidar is of no significance as radar and cameras will do the job as his company is already doing.