Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk at Tesla Store opening in Westfield Mall, London, Oct 2013
Automakers and technology companies from around the world continue to press forward with their autonomous-driving technologies, but a handful remain standouts.
Arguably, Tesla arrived on the scene first with its Autopilot system. However, despite its name, the technology is far from capable of actually driving the car itself. By 2019, Tesla CEO Elon Musk promised the same newer Tesla cars on the roads today will be capable of fully self-driving modes with software currently under development. What does General Motors, an automaker betting big on self-driving cars, think of that claim? Not much, reports Car Advice.
“I think he is full of crap,” GM director of autonomous vehicle integration, Scott Miller, said. “To think you can see everything you need for a Level 5 autonomous car [full self-driving] with cameras and radar, I don’t know how you do that,” he added.
But during his TED Talk in April, Musk said Level 5 would be possible with just cameras. "Once you solve cameras for vision, autonomy is solved; if you don’t solve vision, it’s not solved…You can absolutely be superhuman with just cameras," Musk said.
Miller refers to the fact no Tesla vehicle is equipped with LiDAR, which is an essential component to self-driving cars' ability to "see" the world around them. Right now, Telsa vehicles only house radar and up to eight cameras to perform the Level 2 self-driving activities permitted by Autopilot. The GM executive also pointed out that while it is possible to perform a coast-to-coast drive with Tesla's Level 2 Autopilot system, it does not equal the capability of Level 5 autonomy, which requests zero involvement from the driver (passenger?).
“To be what an SAE Level 5 full autonomous system is, I don’t think he has the content to do that,” Miller stated.
His comments come hot on the heels of GM's first foray into semi self-driving systems with its own Super Cruise technology. The 2018 Cadillac CT6 will feature the system as standard on the range-topping Platinum trim and promises a true hands-free driving experience on divided highways. GM also has a diversified portfolio when it comes to self-driving cars. It acquired Cruise Automation to handle future self-driving car technologies and recently purchased a LiDAR developer to further bolster autonomous car development.