Neither lidar, nor now radar, the vision technology Tesla is working on today is called upon to perform tasks unthinkable for a camera system not long ago. While many manufacturers fill their vehicles with multiple sensors, those in Palo Alto seem to be in a rush to reduce components as much as possible.
Last week Tesla received the patent for which he will be able to ” estimate the properties of objects using data from visual images .” This confirms the efforts that the American brand is putting into its image recognition systems and the electric car environment itself, in its effort to achieve total autonomous driving .
The patent Tesla explains how it works to be implemented through two neuronal networks capable of measuring distances of objects using only image data.
The first neural network determines the distance of objects from images captured by cameras around a vehicle. When the second neural network kicks in, training material is created in the form of annotated images for the first neural network.
Goodbye to radar?
Elon Musk himself has even suggested that Tesla’s struggle to achieve full and pure vision will tend as a consequence that at any given time, it will not even be necessary to use radar sensors in the future.
Tesla has always been characterized by eliminating elements that seemed essential in traditional automobiles, such as the ignition key or button, or other elements that facilitate life on board and the comfort of use of the vehicle .
Now the Palo Alto brand claims that it is necessary to find the correct number of sensors to put in an autonomous vehicle without limiting the amount of data it can capture and process.
For this reason, the vision elements are decisive to save costs such as those involved in having lidar systems, radar, ultrasound and other redundant elements, which represent an overload of the system that must process all the data and pose bandwidth problems automobile system.
For Tesla, the reduction of elements is necessary to reduce the complexity and costs of each electric car , for this reason ” as the number and types of sensors increase, so does the complexity and cost of the system.”
According to the brand, “ emitting distance sensors such as lidar are often expensive to include in a mass production vehicle . In addition, each additional sensor increases the input bandwidth requirements for the autonomous driving system. ‘
Against this, Tesla indicates that “ there is a need to find the optimal configuration of the sensors in a vehicle . The configuration should limit the total number of sensors without limiting the amount and type of data captured to accurately describe the surrounding environment and safely control the vehicle .