Saturday, December 26, 2015

What a Tesla sees when it drives around

Tesla's new auto-pilot mode allows them to drive automatically with no human intervention. It does seem like magic but, as you might imagine, there are lots of technology working behind the scenes. Technology that you'll be able to glimpse in the video I bring you today.

For truly autonomous cars, like Google's (and others), we often have a LIDAR scanner that allows them to map their surroundings in 3D. However, that's a very expensive piece of machinery that isn't used on Teslas. Instead, it relies only on regular cameras, and more common radars.

Looking through its "eyes", we can see what the car is seeing, and it's amazing to see it recognizing people walking by, other cars, bikes, traffic signs (including those on the pavement), and so on.

It's really impressive to see it in action, and remembering that - unlike a human driver - the car doesn't get distracted for even a tenth of a second like a human driver. However, one must also ask how such systems would work (or not) in night time, with heavy rain, or fog? Surely those are things that will improve in the coming years, by using LIDAR, night vision cameras, thermal vision, and all other sorts of technology that will help create the perfect vehicle that can handle itself better than any other drive by a human.

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