Latest in Gear

Image credit: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tesla hopes existing tech improves its semi-autonomous driving

It wants to evolve its current Autopilot radar rather than add lidar to its cars.
932 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Many have speculated that Tesla could have prevented the Autopilot-related Florida crash if its cars had lidar (visible light detection and ranging) to better understand the world around them, not just cameras and radar. However, Tesla might have a way to improve its semi-autonomous driving without grafting on new equipment. Elon Musk explains that his company hopes to adapt its existing radar systems to produce a lidar-like map of the surrounding environment with the help of "temporal smoothing" that compares object positions over time. The current hardware should produce a high-enough resolution for this to work, he adds. And unlike lidar, it can see through dust, rain and snow.

Musk doesn't have a timetable for when this radar upgrade could happen, but he believes that it would produce at least "moderate" improvements in Autopilot (if not major ones) without requiring brand new hardware.

Tesla has a strong financial motivation to pursue this strategy, as you might guess. It'd have to spend a lot to add lidar to cars, not the least of which might be significant redesigns to accommodate the sensor tech. If this goes forward, though, it could be a big deal. It still wouldn't make Autopilot foolproof, but it might mitigate (or even eliminate) a key weak point and make the hands-off system that much more trustworthy.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
932 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's Guide to Privacy

Engadget's Guide to Privacy

View
Tilta mods Blackmagic's Pocket Cinema Camera with a tilt screen and SSD

Tilta mods Blackmagic's Pocket Cinema Camera with a tilt screen and SSD

View
Three Mile Island's infamous nuclear plant shuts down after 45 years

Three Mile Island's infamous nuclear plant shuts down after 45 years

View
Samsung asks users to be extra careful with the Galaxy Fold

Samsung asks users to be extra careful with the Galaxy Fold

View
Uber sues NYC over vehicle caps

Uber sues NYC over vehicle caps

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr