Tesla Semi Autopilot Sensors Pointed Out, Potential LiDAR – Video

2 days ago by Steven Loveday 15

While the sheer power and acceleration of the Tesla Semi are incredible, the truck’s real advantage may come due to its active safety technology.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk couldn’t say enough about the all-new electric semi’s safety features and self-driving tech. Not only will it protect you — and everything else around you — but it will also save money with its platooning feature. Musk shared at the event (via Teslarati):

Tesla Semi

Tesla Semi “Wing” and Autopilot Sensors

“The convoy technology, the tracking technology, this is something that we are confident we can today do ten times safer than a human driver.

Even if you’re in an emergency, the truck will stay in lane, and gradually come to a halt, and put on the emergencies. If it doesn’t hear a response from you, it will actually call emergency services and get an ambulance. It’s going to take care of you; it’s going to take care of other cars; it’s going to take care of other pedestrians.”

Kman Auto continues to post his footage from the recent Tesla Semi event. Now we have an up-close look at the vehicle’s various Autopilot sensors. This is not just a few sensors and cameras, but instead, at least 12 cameras, plus two 360-degree cameras, and potential lidar.

As you can see, the semi utilizes a “wing” for mounting some of the hardware, since it doesn’t have any side-view mirrors. Cameras are found all over the vehicle; above and below the huge panoramic windshield and within each headlight, for instance.

Musk didn’t speak specifically to any Full Self-Driving capability for the upcoming hauler. However, its suite of Autopilot hardware is obviously highly advanced. The truck can do everything a Model S, X, or 3 can do, and potentially more. It’s likely only a matter of time before it can move up to the next level, much like the rest of Tesla’s fleet, but perhaps sooner and with increased ability due to the nature and application of the vehicle.

Video Description via Kman Auto on YouTube:

Tesla Semi Autopilot Cameras 360 and Potential Lidar

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Showing the Autopilot/Autonomous cameras. Now, shown on the side wings, each wing has a additional camera that I did not show in video. I saw this at another source. It was too dark for my camera to pickup the back facing cameras. So count is up to at least 12 cameras so far for Autopilot, and 2×360* cameras.

Source: Teslarati

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15 responses to "Tesla Semi Autopilot Sensors Pointed Out, Potential LiDAR – Video"

  1. OB1 says:

    Musk also said platooning would make it cheaper than rail. My take on this would mean, that tesla itself will use a large amount of it’s own semis to deliver it’s own cars and ship drivetrains from giga factory to Fremont in convoys

    1. What is the Curious Question is: over the next 3-6 Months, how many Semi’s can they build, by hand or not, and get on the road, for GF1 to Freemont working Routes, Plus, other routes, to benefit Tesla Internally?

      Then, how many can they get to start testing in Canada, Australia, UAE, New Zealand, Norway, Malaysia, etc., to do full weather testing on these?

      It would be great if they could get 1-2 per week build rate, even if by hand, by March 31st, 2018, and 4-5 per week by July 1st, 2018! That, just for use & Testing purposes!

    2. Luke.us says:

      They already were, apparently. Tesla even had camoflaged mules picking up motor controllers and electronics parts from suppliers – there were videos of the Tesla mules posted to youtube going all the way back to early 2016 that didn’t surface until about a month before the reveal, but now that we’ve seen the semi those mules with the silent shiftless drive and ridiculous acceleration were definitely tesla trucks, they were filmed at known tesla suppliers and the truck in the video was photographed alongside the production prototypes as well.

      So they are definitely using the trucks for deliveries internally.

  2. bro1999 says:

    The “future product” mentioned in this article could have been the Semi. So much for Tesla not using LIDAR. Elon’s tweets about LIDAR we’re just a bunch of hot air.
    http://www.thedrive.com/news/5804/elon-musk-may-be-secretly-planning-to-use-lidar-in-future-tesla-models-updated

  3. Doggydogworld says:

    Tesla will use LIDAR when and where it makes sense. Unlike some Tesla fans, they’re not religious about stuff like LIDAR, battery chemistry and induction vs. permanent magnet motors.

    LIDAR is required on the Semi for competitive reasons. You can’t tell liability-conscious fleet owners “our self-driving Semi may not be as safe as theirs, but we’re saving you $300 on a $180,000 purchase”.

    Cars are different. They need to sell cars today and $300 LIDAR units that fit into a sleek sedan aren’t available. So, by definition, “LIDAR is unnecessary”.

    1. Mint says:

      Well said.

      A lot more life and property at stake in a truck collision, especially with a platoon, so it makes sense to spend more and make Autopilot more robust.

    2. R.S says:

      Safety of Level 5 self driving vehicles is just in the OEMs own interest, since they are responsible for accidents.

      So I’m pretty sure the fleet buyers of Tesla Semis could not care less about how safe the full self driving Semi trucks actually are.

      As long as Tesla pays the damage, they can relax.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Your argument fails on several points.

        Any personal injury lawsuit involving a Tesla Semi Truck owned by a fleet would name both Tesla and the trucking fleet owner in the suit.

        And even aside from that, trucking fleet owners are certainly not going to ignore the potential for reducing accidents. Lowering the accident rate will reduce their insurance payments as well as reducing the number of times they’d have to pay for non-delivery or destruction of a cargo. A lower accident rate would also give the trucking fleet operator a better reputation for reliability, improving its ability to compete against other fleets.

    3. floydboy says:

      I’ve not personally seen anyone religiously arguing against LIDAR. Musk personally seem feel, its current drawbacks and expense outweigh any tangible gain it may add to his advocated visual approach. That being said, it still remains to be seen if what’s pictured there IS LIDAR.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “I’ve not personally seen anyone religiously arguing against LIDAR.”

        I haven’t either. Probably just another case of a Tesla hater copying and pasting FUD from the cesspools of Seeking Alpha or Yahoo Finance.

        The claim here that Tesla has “reserved space” in its Semi Trucks for LiDAR is obviously just speculation, but I certainly hope it’s true. Tesla may be publicly insisting that their cars can achieve Level 5 autonomy without LiDAR, but that seems to be driven more by the high price of scanning LiDAR systems than anything else. With solid-state LiDAR systems rapidly dropping the price, my prediction is that Tesla will soon give in to the inevitable and include LiDARs as part of its autonomous driving sensor suite.

        Tesla’s claim to be ahead of everybody else with its autonomous driving system, is going to be harder and harder to maintain if it’s the only company not using LiDAR.

        1. Jason says:

          I don’t see how not using LiDAR makes their system less likely. The only reason humans are such bad drivers is because we get distracted, tired and interpret rules differently, and yet for 90% of our driving needs we use binocular vision on a flexible stalk and majority of the time we are not crashing every time we drive.
          Computing power and AI, if it can process that same visual data as well as humans can, but without the distractions, tiredness and interpreting issues, should be able to drive equally as good but most likely incredibly better.
          Add things like RADAR and 360 degree vision and the situation just got a whole lot better.
          So LiDAR might be better vision, but it doesn’t automatically mean it is better result. I suspect it does improve things in adverse situations, but maybe it can be focused rather than 360 degrees. If every vehicle is watching is direction of travel then things like side collision should disappear as the vehicle that caused the side collision is responsible for its motion of travel and avoids the vehicle in front of it.
          Does an autonomous vehicles need to account for the human driver that causes a side collision? Certainly it is better if there is no collision, but the rules already exist to sort out the at fault in this instance.

  4. ffbj says:

    After a few years of data you could probably get it insured for 20% less than a comparably priced diesel truck.

  5. Five Electrics says:

    The nice thing about vapor products is that they can port all kinds of ridiculous specs. If the specs aren’t practical, delay the car until they are. That’s the magic of Kickstarter-like campaigns.

    1. G2 says:

      A decade ago I could have agreed with you, but we are talking now… and we are talking about Tesla, so you are just plain wrong. Sorry….

  6. scott says:

    Tesla is going to have to buy on of the large automakers to really start pumping out cars. At least if they want to pump out a significant number of vehicles any time soon.

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