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Tesla Model S with LIDAR ‘Puck’ spotted testing near Palo Alto HQ

Discussion in 'Tesla Motors' started by Mo City, Sep 9, 2016.

  1. Mo City

    Mo City Member

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    Tesla Model S with LIDAR 'Puck' spotted testing near Palo Alto HQ

    MODEL S
    Tesla Model S with LIDAR ‘Puck’ spotted testing near Palo Alto HQ
    [​IMG]
    ByGene
    Posted on September 9, 2016
    [​IMG]

    Another Tesla Model S with a roof-mounted LIDAR sensor has been spotted near the company’s Palo Alto-based headquarters. However, unlike theprevious sighting of the Model S with overhead LIDAR and bore the Stanford University insignia on the rear windshield and license plate bracket, the Model S spotted today was using presumably much smaller LIDAR sensors and wearing manufacturer license plates.

    The photo sent to us by a tipster, who preferred to remain nameless, was taken in Los Altos Hills, a common area where the Silicon Valley automaker has been known to test new features ahead of wide release. What’s particularly noteworthy are the two puck-style sensors mounted on the front and rear of the vehicle. The puck sensors also appear to be from Velodyne, the same manufacturer that produced the larger LIDAR sensor seen testing on a Model S earlier this summer.

    Though industry experts within the field of autonomous vehicles, most notably Google, believe LIDAR sensors which provide in-depth 3D maps of a vehicle’s surroundings using lasers are critical for producing accurate self-driving technology, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has had a strong stance against it. Musk suggested that the use of LIDAR technology is not needed for autonomous driving. “I don’t think you need LIDAR … you can do this all with passive optical and then with maybe one forward radar”, he said during a press conference last October. “I think that completely solves it without the use of LIDAR. I’m not a big fan of LIDAR, I don’t think it makes sense in this context.”

    Despite Musk’s stated case against LIDAR, industry experts believe self-driving cars will require multiple detection systems including the use of infrared LIDAR technology if vehicles are to remain safe at high speeds.

    We know Musk has been preparing to release details for version 8.0 which will have noticeably improved Autopilot. Could this be a sign that the final version of Autopilot 2.0 will in fact use LIDAR?
     
  2. Yggdrasill

    Yggdrasill Active Member

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    To me it looks like GPS antennas. I doubt LIDAR would be attached with duct tape.
     
  3. 1208

    1208 Active Member

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    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Yggdrasill

    Yggdrasill Active Member

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    Duct tape is perfect for covering gaps and such, improving aerodynamics. Not so perfect for maintaining exact alignment of sensor equipment.
     
  5. Yggdrasill

    Yggdrasill Active Member

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    For comparison, previous test mule with GPS antenna:

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. hobbes

    hobbes Active Member

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    Model S obviously already has a hidden GPS antenna, why add another one on the roof? Improved precision?

     
  7. Yggdrasill

    Yggdrasill Active Member

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    #7 Yggdrasill, Sep 10, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2016
    There are a bunch of possibilities.

    1. Improved precision.
    2. They don't want to tamper with the cars GPS, potentially messing it up and affecting the autopilot performance.
    3. They use a data logger where it's much easier to use an additional GPS to log the position, rather than relying on the car's GPS.
    4. They're testing a new GPS antenna layout. Or new hardware related to the GPS signal processing.
    5. On the car with seemingly two antennas, they may be comparing the signals from each antenna, for instance to determine the exact direction the car is pointing, or improving precision.

    Probably a few more as well.
     
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  8. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    I am not convinced those objects are LIDAR. Please explain the reasoning behind that assumption.
     
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  9. donv

    donv Member

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    They may or may not be LIDAR, but I would think Tesla would want to use LIDAR to validate their 8.0/8.1 radar improvements. Test cars have been spotted for a long time with other validation gear, so not surprising.
     
  10. hobbes

    hobbes Active Member

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    Maybe the recent sighting with lidar sensors on a Model S was really something else (from today´s press call):

    Tesla Autopilot 8.0 uses radar to prevent accidents like the fatal Model S crash
    (posted this on short-term thread first but fits here better)
     
  11. somnambule

    somnambule Member

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    It's hard to judge from the image and I could be wrong, but those things on the Model S seem too "flat" to be Velodyne's compact LIDAR devices (see the height-to-diameter ratio in the image of the Velodyne "puck" in this recent article).

    As for Elon's assertion that LIDAR is not necessary, we already have existential proof of that (at least when there's sufficient intelligence). We all drive around reasonably safely without the aid of lasers shooting out of our heads.
     
  12. J1mbo

    J1mbo Member

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    Those are high resolution GPS antenna.

    LIDAR "puck":

    [​IMG]

    Solid state LIDAR:

    [​IMG]
     

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