Most automakers and self-driving vehicle companies such as Alphabet Inc’s Waymo use three types of sensors: Cameras, radar and lidar.
Radar systems, like cameras, are relatively inexpensive. They work in poor weather but lack resolution to accurately determine the shape of objects. Lidar has higher resolution, but is vulnerable to weather conditions.
“You need to use all the different kinds of sensors and then combine them,” said Raj Rajkumar, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, reflecting a common industry view.
Tesla’s camera-centric system is “much harder to design, but it is also much cheaper” than Waymo’s laser-based lidar approach, enabling the electric car maker to scale up and further improve its technology, Tesla’s artificial intelligence director, Andrej Karpathy, said in a “Robot Brains” podcast in March.