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Spotting of a Model S Self-Driving Car

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Many people in the general public don't understand the difference between self-driving and autopilot. I actually spotted what I strongly suspect is a self-driving Model S near Tesla HQ. I blogged about it yesterday the same day of the news of the tragic accident with the car using autopilot.

A true self-driving car today has one of these gizmos on top like the Tesla one I saw. Seems like Tesla is progressing in their research.
 

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Yep, the unit you're seeing there looks like a slightly older model of the Velodyne HDL-64: HDL-64E

These are 3D LIDAR units that generate live contour maps of its surroundings. Tesla could be using this as a self-driving sensor, or using it as the benchmark of "truth" for other self-driving sensors under consideration.
 
Many people in the general public don't understand the difference between self-driving and autopilot. I actually spotted what I strongly suspect is a self-driving Model S near Tesla HQ. I blogged about it yesterday the same day of the news of the tragic accident with the car using autopilot.

A true self-driving car today has one of these gizmos on top like the Tesla one I saw. Seems like Tesla is progressing in their research.

One of the things I notice about that photo is that it has the white carpool stickers. You can't apply for those without a plate -- so it is likely a returned CPO 85. Perhaps the previous owner went to Stanford, and forgot to remove the plate holder, however, Tesla is usually very good about replacing that stuff before reselling the vehicle. I see the sensor circles, so it's autopilot (or parking sensor enabled). This may be one of those CPOs that were bought by Tesla and then repurposed for testing.
 
Perhaps the previous owner went to Stanford, and forgot to remove the plate holder, however, Tesla is usually very good about replacing that stuff before reselling the vehicle.

If it was just the plate holder sure, but Its illegal and uncommon to drive around in California with the rear windshield covered. I'd have to check my video of it, but I think they had additional stickers on the side windows too. I think it was a lame trick to fool people myself.
 
If it was just the plate holder sure, but Its illegal and uncommon to drive around in California with the rear windshield covered. I'd have to check my video of it, but I think they had additional stickers on the side windows too. I think it was a lame trick to fool people myself.

It's not illegal to drive in CA with the rear windshield covered as long as you have both side mirrors.

The Tesla HQ is also a service center too. It very well might be a Stanford researcher doing LiDar mapping using his Tesla. Before Google got into the self-driving thing, Stanford researchers were building autonomous cars and racing them across the desert. I think Stanford still has some departments working on that kind of thing.
 
It's not illegal to drive in CA with the rear windshield covered as long as you have both side mirrors.

nope, CA is very picky about stickers in any windows. Here is the few places you can put them:

  • Do not block your view by putting signs or other objects on the front windshield or the back side windows. Do not hang objects on the mirror. Windshield/window stickers, etc., are permitted in these locations only:
    • A seven-inch square on either the passenger’s side windshield lower corner or the lower corner of the rear window
    • A five-inch square on the lower corner of the driver’s side window.
    • The side windows behind the driver.
    • A five-inch square located in the center uppermost portion of your windshield for an electronic toll payment device.
 
nope, CA is very picky about stickers in any windows. Here is the few places you can put them:

  • Do not block your view by putting signs or other objects on the front windshield or the back side windows. Do not hang objects on the mirror. Windshield/window stickers, etc., are permitted in these locations only:
    • A seven-inch square on either the passenger’s side windshield lower corner or the lower corner of the rear window
    • A five-inch square on the lower corner of the driver’s side window.
    • The side windows behind the driver.
    • A five-inch square located in the center uppermost portion of your windshield for an electronic toll payment device.

CA is just picky in general about cars :/

That's for the windshield in front of the vehicle and defined in California Vehicle Code 26708 (b) (3).

(3) Signs, stickers, or other materials that are displayed in a
seven-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield farthest
removed from the driver, signs, stickers, or other materials that are
displayed in a seven-inch square in the lower corner of the rear
window farthest removed from the driver, or signs, stickers, or other
materials that are displayed in a five-inch square in the lower
corner of the windshield nearest the driver.

The rear window is exempted in California Vehicle Code 26708 (b) (8) as long as it has side mirrors on both sides of the vehicle.

California Vehicle Code 26708 (b) (8) The rear window or windows, if the motor vehicle is equipped
with outside mirrors on both the left- and right-hand sides of the
vehicle that are so located as to reflect to the driver a view of the
highway through each mirror for a distance of at least 200 feet to
the rear of the vehicle.
 
CA is just picky in general about cars :/

That's for the windshield in front of the vehicle and defined in California Vehicle Code 26708 (b) (3).

(3) Signs, stickers, or other materials that are displayed in a
seven-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield farthest
removed from the driver, signs, stickers, or other materials that are
displayed in a seven-inch square in the lower corner of the rear
window farthest removed from the driver, or signs, stickers, or other
materials that are displayed in a five-inch square in the lower
corner of the windshield nearest the driver.

The rear window is exempted in California Vehicle Code 26708 (b) (8) as long as it has side mirrors on both sides of the vehicle.

California Vehicle Code 26708 (b) (8) The rear window or windows, if the motor vehicle is equipped
with outside mirrors on both the left- and right-hand sides of the
vehicle that are so located as to reflect to the driver a view of the
highway through each mirror for a distance of at least 200 feet to
the rear of the vehicle.

I stand corrected! How complicated! i think they need to add something about a rear view camera.