Death of Traditional Driving

We’ve discussed the end of traditional driving as we know it in class with the rise of autonomous vehicles, but recently, one of the industry’s leading figures, Elon Musk, has been receiving criticisms over his plan for the future (https://www.businessinsider.com/waymos-execs-defend-lidar-2019-5).

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, has completely taken lidar technology out of his plans for autonomous cars, claiming that multiple cameras and AI recognition would be the way of the future. Lidar technology involves multiple sensors that sense light waves that bounce from it to “see” what is around it. Musk states that the use of this technology is too expensive and a “fool’s errand”. Waymo, one of the companies that pioneered lidar technology, called this approach “very, very risky”, arguing that one would need the very best camera systems to handle autonomous driving and that a combination of both lidar and cameras would provide the safest experience. Waymo brings up one of the biggest strengths of lidar is that it is great at still managing to detect objects in inclement weather and worse light Conditions. These are of course fundamentally different approaches towards achieving the end of traditional driving as we know it. Musk is also promising 1 million autonomous taxis by 2020, while being tight lipped about details. The other companies have been comparatively tight-lipped about their projection plans asserting that “deployments are gated by safety”.  Witnessing the plans for the death of traditional driving and how the success of private companies will decide the future of how cars will avoid hitting each other.

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