Experts Reject Tesla’s Planned Self-Driving Car Demo: ‘It’s All Hype’

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is puzzled
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Elon Musk claims that Tesla will show off a self-driving car in a demonstration to investors on Monday despite claims from industry insiders that the technology does not exist. One expert dismissed Musk’s event, saying “it’s all hype.”

Tesla is scheduled to demonstrate self-driving car technology on Monday to a group of investors. The announcement, which Musk teased in a podcast earlier this month, has some industry experts scratching their heads.

Steven E. Shladover, a former autonomous vehicle researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, told the Associated Press on Monday that Musk cannot possibly have the technology for self-driving cars because it does not yet exist. “It’s all hype,” Shladover said. “The technology does not exist to do what he is claiming. He doesn’t have it and neither does anybody else.”

Some financial analysts theorize that Tesla’s demonstration on Monday will be held to distract from the poor earnings report that Tesla will release on Wednesday.

Tesla claims that their self-driving vehicles use eight cameras to capture a 360 degree perspective of the vehicle’s surroundings. Then, an on-board computer uses the information from the cameras to navigate the vehicle.

But Tesla self-driving cars are missing a key component found in autonomous vehicles built by other manufacturers. Ken Washington of Ford Motor Company notes that true autonomous vehicles should have an advanced radar technology that captures a three-dimensional map of the vehicle’s surroundings. Self-driving vehicles being produced by Google, Ford, and GM all incorporate this advanced radar technology.

“Vehicles that don’t have Lidar, that don’t have advanced radar, that haven’t captured a 3-D map are not self-driving vehicles,” Washington said. “They are great consumer vehicles with really good driver-assist technology.”

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