Elon Musk annouced that Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) is planning a significant change to the autopilot technology, updating the hardware and software with a focus on radar sensor instead of cameras or image processing systems.
While radars are more efficient and safe for passangers, there are challenges in making the technology work properly. Elon Musk explained in an interview, “The big problem in using radar to stop the car is avoiding false alarms… Slamming on the brakes is critical if you are about to hit something large and solid, but not if you are merely about to run over a soda can. Having lots of unnecessary braking events would at best be very annoying and at worst cause injury.”
After years of research it seems progress has been made, and new algorithms may deal with the issues. “By comparing several contiguous frames against vehicle velocity and expected path, the car can tell if something is real and assess the probability of collision,” Musk said.
The Autopilot feature includes machine steering, collision avoidance, assisted lane changing and adaptive cruise control.