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This new video of Tesla going into showing that we will be driving autonomous cars with a video that is posted on Interesting Engineering seems to suggest that the cars are almost there and we will all be taking care of all other business while driving in the car except the action of driving. It certainly looks very convenient and can’t wait to actually experience one. But how feasible the technology is that is vetted for prime time?
Lets look all the components required to get this autonomous vehicle from a practical stand point. Several companies are trying several technologies that can get the job done most effectively.
SONAR: Sound Navigation and Ranging is detecting objects by putting out a sound signal and listening to the bounced back signal to determine if the shape and size of the object. The enhanced version of this is the Doppler Sonor where the object that is being tracked is also moving and that changes the pitch or frequency of the sound waves that gets reflected letting the SONOR know the exact shape, size and the speed with which it is moving. TESLA uses this technology for its mapping and information.
LIDAR: This is the technology that the Google backed Waymo is in the forefront of its fight with TESLA. LIDAR stands for light detection and ranging. This takes me back to the days when AT&T and Verizon were at competing for dominance using the CDMA Vs TDMA to see which one would get the job done most effectively. LIDAR like the name suggests uses light waves that are of 600-1000 nm in length which is safer for the human eyes and to bounce off of objects and map the objects around it using some powerful computation and AI networks. The sensor has dual mirrors that are spaced at an angle to calculate the difference in the received signal and uses sophisticated algorithms onboard the vehicle then compared and analyzed by the data that has been painstakingly collected over millions of miles driven by those Google cars that we have all seen on highways and byways. This is where Alphabet inc and Waymo can make a huge difference is the amount of data that they have accumulated. Elon Musk the CEO of TESLA has used some strong words like “frigging Stupid” to suggest that the route the Alphabet is taking is not very effective. Tesla takes the crowde sourcing approch in getting its set of data from the cars that it has sold, they act as their source of data sets that their AI mines thru to make sense of it all. The autonomous technology is a culmination of the old and new technology put together and perfecting it.
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