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It may be deployed in future Tesla vehicles

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is interested in self-driving technology for his future fleets -- and he's going to Google for advice.

Musk has been talking to Google about its work with self-driving cars and how to implement such a system for future Tesla vehicles. However, Musk doesn't want to call it "self-driving," but rather "autopilot" technology. 

“I like the word autopilot more than I like the word self- driving,” Musk said. “Self-driving sounds like it’s going to do something you don’t want it to do. Autopilot is a good thing to have in planes, and we should have it in cars.”

The idea behind such technology is to not only make driving more convenient, but also safer. Cars equipped with self-driving systems can react to certain situations and prevent a crash, for example. 

Google is the place to go for insight on the new technology, considering Google has launched self-driving projects over the last couple of years. Its test fleet consists of Toyota Prius', Audi TTs and Lexus RX450hs equipped with the self-driving technology.


Google's self-driving cars use LIDAR, which is a rotating sensor on the roof that scans more than 200 feet in all directions for a map of the car's surroundings; a position estimator sensor that helps locate its location on a map; four radar sensors to identify the position of distant objects, and a video camera to detect traffic lights as well as moving objects like pedestrians.

“The problem with Google’s current approach is that the sensor system is too expensive,” Musk said. “It’s better to have an optical system, basically cameras with software that is able to figure out what’s going on just by looking at things.” 

As of right now, Google's self-driving cars are allowed to drive on Nevada, California and Florida roads for testing. Last month, it was reported that Michigan may approve autonomous vehicle licensing soon. 

Musk sees autonomous driving -- or autopilot -- as the next step in the evolution of vehicles, but isn't working on development quite yet. 

“We’re not focused on autopilot right now; we will be in the future,” Musk said. “Autopilot is not as important as accelerating the transition to electric cars, or to sustainable transport.”

Source: Bloomberg



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RE: Easy for you to say.
By Azethoth on 5/8/2013 12:21:21 AM , Rating: 2
I think the hard issues have more to do with optical illusions. Lasers and Radar do not care about mirages and weird shadows and such. Pure optical systems have to.

This is why you see multiple technologies used. It is not a processing issue when you get a baffling shadow or apparent lake up ahead in the road. It is an algorithm / sensor issue. For now we solve it with sensors. One day we get to Musk's need for pure optical using better algorithms than we have today.


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