As many as three different Tesla models were spotted wearing LiDAR bodies in the San Francisco Bay Area the past few days. A Model S, Model 3 and Model X were observed cruising the streets of San Francisco and Palo Alto with LiDARs mounted on their roofs.
These appear to be ground truth runs. Such drives are usually used to match navigation data with sensors. New sensors or changed arrangements of sensors have to be aligned and adjusted with the help of existing high-precision navigation maps.
Since we’ve observed three different Tesla models here at once, it could be that Tesla is planning to introduce either a new sensor modality, i.e. LiDAR, or new higher-resolution cameras than the previous eight, or perhaps the rumored VIDAR, a stereoscopic camera system better suited to capture the speed and other data of objects.
What current fears are shaping us? What fears did people face in the past when today’s technologies did not exist? Why are we not at the forefront of the competition between cultures for new technologies today? What actions do we need to take to see new technologies not as something scary and hostile, but as a means of solving humanity’s big problems?
Buy it on Amazon.
The reason for this could be the limitation that Tesla has experienced for full self-driving with the existing sensors. Robocar expert Brad Templeton and others have not had good experiences with the FSD Beta so far and the problems could be homemade at Tesla with the limitation to camera. Has Tesla miscalculated? The next question that immediately arises is whether these new sensor types/cameras can be retrofitted into the vehicles already sold? After all, tens of thousands of customers (including me) have already paid for the FSD functionality.
Here are the videos of each vehicle:
This article was also posted in German.