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The Difference Between Google and Tesla Self-Driving Cars

Travelers Today       By    Kim Cabatuan

Updated: Dec 14, 2015 02:00 PM EST

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Tesla and Google are in the process of making cars that can drive themselves automatically. However, the technology involved in making these ingenius and futuristic cars work is actually different between the two companies.

Both companies utilize the same mapping system, software and sensors which allows the cars to pilot themselves. However, both cars operate differently due to with regards to the 'eye' of the vehicle. The detecting system being used from Google's car is different from the one employed by Tesla.

The self-driving cars are like humans with the way that they require vision of the surroundings in order for them to make informed decisions on how best to navigate the route.

The cars from Google use LIDAR or light-sensing radar which utilizes lasers as the car's mapping system. The said laser is used to measure the distance between the car and objects from its surroundings. The LIDAR technology is said to enable the car to move around with high accuracy. However, the technology does not come cheap as it costs $80,000 per sensor.

Tesla, however, believed that LIDAR is too much and preferred to use high-tech camera sensors to act as the eyes of the self-driving cars. Along with that, the company also set up 12 ultrasonic sensors capable of long range and 360-degree vision as well as a forward facing RADAR system. Its forward looking camera has a smart software that not only measures distance but it can avoid pedestrians as well as read signs.

'I don't think you need LIDAR. I think you can do this all with passive optical and then with maybe one forward RADAR," Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla shared at a press conference last October. "I think that completely solves it without the use of LIDAR. I'm not a big fan of LIDAR, I don't think it makes sense in this context.'

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self-driving cars, Google, tesla
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