Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Tesla discusses driverless car tech with Google

It's an open secret that Google likes to use hybrid vehicles for its driverless cars. On Tuesday, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk said that the electric-car manufacturing has been discussing possibly adding driverless technology to its vehicles.

It's an interesting bit of news, considering the estimating timing before driverless can hit the road with consumers. Earlier, experts at the 2013 Society of Automotive Engineers 2013 World Congress said that 2025 would be the earliest for such an event.

Rather than calling the technology driverless or self-driving, though, Musk, 41, prefers to call it autopilot.
I like the word autopilot more than I like the word self- driving. 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.
Google has previously said the company expects to release the technology within five years, in an open source approach. Musk believes, though, that Google's approach is too expensive.
The problem with Google’s current approach is that the sensor system is too expensive. 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.

I think Tesla will most likely develop its own autopilot system for the car, as I think it should be camera-based, not Lidar-based. However, it is also possible that we do something jointly with Google.
Expensive systems are not that bad when compared to the cost of Tesla's cars, however. Tesla’s Model S sedan has a $69,900 base price and comes with a 60 kWh battery pack that has a range of 208 miles (EPA).

Musk hopes to offer a model for about $30,000 within a few years.



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