Elon Musk’s Tesla car has no human driver

Tesla, the electric car company run by billionaire Elon Musk, was expected to reveal the tech and auto industry’s most advanced self-driving car system at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. Instead, Musk chose to hold a press conference without cameras, offering no details.

But the company did unveil the tech behind the system — and the extent to which Musk has pursued his vision of a vehicle that would not rely on other people to do the driving.

According to a widely leaked video, the vehicle appears to match other Tesla vehicles in maneuvering through tricky crossroads. The Tesla Model 3 also seems to rely on the car-mounted cameras and ultrasonic sensors, instead of using external cameras, to drive on its own.

The footage, while appearing to be of a Tesla vehicle, was filmed by researchers with Velodyne Lidar, a company that makes a lidar, or laser-based measurement system used in self-driving vehicles.

The event, which reportedly has since been partially deleted from YouTube, also showed the vehicle stopping abruptly at a stop sign and passing other cars, despite lacking a sensor to monitor the pavement.

Musk did not explain how the vehicle would be able to stop from either of those scenarios, other than to say that the car does not need additional sensors.

But the video reinforces Musk’s own description of the vehicle last year. At the time, Musk said that the car will not rely on an external camera to navigate. Instead, cameras, cameras and more cameras:

“So when they say do you have a radar built into the car? The answer is no, you don’t. Does the car have an external image of the road? No, it doesn’t. Does the car have a laser? No, it doesn’t. Does the car have a really big array of the world’s fastest lasers, near millimeter-wave at over 20 centimeters per second in a battery pack that weighs like a dishwasher? No, it doesn’t. Does the car have a lidar that detects objects on the road, from hundreds of feet away and billions of degrees Fahrenheit, and uses millions of lasers to create a 3D map of your surroundings in real time, and can get to you faster than a human? No, it doesn’t.”

“You get all this for about 10 percent of the cost,” he said at the time.

Leave a Comment