Tasha Keeney, an analyst for Ark Invest, tells The Verge, “I feel like everyone agrees Waymo’s technology is the best right now, but I think a lot of people are underestimating the power of the data set that Tesla has. She says Tesla’s strategy has more risk (like that ever bothered Elon) but “It could pay off for them in the end. If Tesla solves [self-driving cars without LIDAR], everyone else is going to be kicking themselves.”
That’s a huge “if,” says Raj Rajkumar, the co-director of the connected and autonomous driving research lab at Carnegie Mellon University which is sponsored by General Motors. He thinks Tesla may find itself at a big disadvantage without Lidar. “We don’t think the hardware will be sufficient to do that, and I don’t think Tesla is particularly anywhere close to getting to [fully] driverless operation,” he says.