A recent accident in which a driver was killed while the vehicle was on autopilot has led Tesla to work on its radar system equipped in the vehicle. The company in its statement said that a not so common convergence of situation kept the autopilot system of the vehicle from detecting the facing tractor-trailer that killed the driver Joshua D. Brown, on the May 7th accident.
Tesla to introduce “Point Cloud”
In short, it means that Tesla is working on the introduction of a more robust computer modelling into the radar system, and for doing this, the company will be introducing “Point Cloud” system. In simple words a “point cloud” is a 3D model or a map made up from a set of individual points, this is the only way by which the modern radar system see things. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors talked about detecting motion using 3D models or series of pictures in this particular context.
However, some other players in the radar technology have been using different methods for carrying out the task. Lidar is one such cousin of radar which uses lasers instead of using radio waves for its radar; it is noteworthy that Lidar has often been described as a more accurate detection system as compared to radar. However, Lidar system is very expensive to be put into vehicles for regular consumers, but it is still used by some of Tesla’s competitors.
Experts on the matter believe that the changes in the radar system will bring the capability of seeing in rain, bright sunlight and even in snow, thus getting the Autopilot system more efficiency. The investigation carried out into the car-crash revealed that Autopilot was not able to detect the white side of the tractor trailer against the bright sky, but with the introduction higher priority to radar will prevent similar misreads in the upcoming future.
The vehicle manufacturer also added that the particular height of the obstacle in that car crash also played a role in the Autopilot’s incapability to detect the tractor-trailer. However, the ambiguity is still there on the matter, whether the revamped system will be capable of curbing the problem or not.
It will be a great win for the company if they are successful in this software change because the upgrade could be carried out remotely. Moreover, it will also be helpful in the ongoing investigation conducted into the matter by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).