(Googlers turned Sergey Brin’s Tesla Model S into a pink Batmobile for April Fool’s Day)
According to a report from Bloomberg, Tesla’s Elon Musk has discussed with Google the possibility of adding self driving vehicle technology to its fleet of all-electric cars. The problem, says Musk, is that Google’s approach to the technology is currently too expensive compared to camera-based systems:
“The problem with Google’s current approach is that the sensor system is too expensive,” Musk said. “It’s better to have an optical system, basically cameras with software that is able to figure out what’s going on just by looking at things… “We’ve had some technical discussions with Google” about its Light Detection and Ranging, or Lidar, laser tracking system, Musk said last week, noting that it’s an expensive approach that may not prove feasible, Musk said.
Am a fan of Larry, Sergey & Google in general, but self-driving cars comments to Bloomberg were just off-the-cuff. No big announcement here—
Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 07, 2013
While it’s possible Google could contribute to bringing the driverless features to future Tesla vehicles, Musk told Bloomberg it’s more likely the company will develop its own “autopilot system”. That’s something that other automakers are already doing with Toyota, Lexus, and Audi all showing off self-driving car technology at CES back in January:
“I think Tesla will most likely develop its own autopilot system for the car, as I think it should be camera-based, not Lidar-based,” Musk said yesterday in an e-mail. “However, it is also possible that we do something jointly with Google.”
Unconfirmed reports from earlier this year suggested that Tesla was possibly prepping vehicles to be used as Google self-driving vehicles. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page were originally investors in Tesla before the company went public in 2010, and just last month Brin was spotted driving his Tesla Model S near Google HQ (pictured above).
Last year Nevada became the first to issue a license to Google for testing of its autonomous vehicles on the city streets, while since other states have passed driverless car legislation supporting Google’s effort to bring its self-driving cars to public roads.