Tesla Model S Spotted With LIDAR Puck, Could This Be A Part Of The Upgrade?

Sep 12, 2016 05:00 AM EDT | Mariechris Felipe

Hours before Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the latest and much-improved Tesla Autopilot 8.0 software that will be released in the next week or two, a Tesla Model S with a roof-mounted LIDAR sensor was seen near Tesla facilities. Could the this be a part of the newest update Tesla is getting ready to launch? Or is it a test made for other future updates?

Tesla Autopilot 8.0 - Key to Avoid Accidents

The Tesla Model S photo was sent by an anonymous carparazzi who believes that the LIDAR-equipped Tesla Model S proves that a future update is imminent. The photo was captured at Los Altos Hills, a place Tesla often uses to test new features of their cars. Another notable thing is the addition of puck-style sensors mounted on the front and rear of the Tesla Model S.

In a conference call with reporters, the head of Tesla, Elon Musk, said that Tesla is doing all they can to avoid accidents due to Autopilot issues, such as what happened last week. With the leaked photos of a Tesla Model S with an overhead LIDAR puck, a Stanford University insignia on the rear windshield and a company licensed plate bracket, it seems that Tesla is really doing lots of tests in order to find out the best solutions for the company's present autopilot issues.

Musk Against LIDAR, So Why Use It?

Many tech and automobile experts in the autonomous vehicle field believes that LIDAR sensors are the solution for perfect autonomy in the future. Google strongly advocated the use of it but Elon Musk has always been against it.

“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.

With Musk clearly not a fan of the Lidar technology, Tesla fans have become confused why a Tesla Model S is spotted using one.

With LIDAR's ability to detect actions even at high speeds and its in-depth 3-D map renders of a vehicle's surroundings through lasers and infrared technology, it seems like Musk had a change of heart. Will LIDAR be the key to a perfect Tesla autopilot software? We'll see in a few weeks.

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