Dropping LiDAR has been criticized by some experts and automotive journalists, but the company went ahead with it anyway.
At CES 2022, Luminar – a company that sells LiDAR technology and hardware – demonstrated that a Lexus RX equipped with its products can detect a child dummy sitting in the middle of the street while a Tesla Model Y cannot. This happened in January, almost seven months ago.
The video didn’t get very popular. Even at the time of writing this article, it has under 9,500 views.
But the whole thing went viralHowever, things shared on social media tend to spread like wildfire. A short clip recorded by someone attending the January event has been published Wednesday on Twitter. In a couple of hours, it accrued over 2.3 million views, over 7,000 retweets, and over 56,000 likes. The footage you can see down below was accompanied by the following description - “It’s 2022, and Teslas still aren’t stopping for children.”
Others said Luminar was right in showing this footage and argued that Tesla’s camera system can’t properly see and detect a small human that’s not moving, while radar-equipped cars have this ability.
It’s also relevant to know that Model S and Model X vehicles still come with radars. The cheaper Model 3 and Model Y are problematic in this respect.
But a prominent Tesla shareholder got involved in this heated discussion and said that Tesla’s Vision system can detect “a piece of cardboard that is not a child.” Furthermore, they argued that a Model Y “wouldn’t be braking every time a piece of cardboard flew through the road.”
A follow-up video shows that Luminar didn’t use cardboard kids but child dummies that resembled the shape of a small human.
There's too much confusionAnother Tesla fan quickly went out and tested the Full Self-Driving and their neighborhood. They proved the car recognizes road obstacles and goes around them.
Lastly, this whole situation remains a misunderstanding. The issue at hand isn’t that Tesla’s Full Self-Driving doesn’t work. The problem is the Model Y used by Luminar didn’t engage its brakes to avoid destroying the dummy. Automatic Emergency Braking Systems are mandatory for new cars in most markets. Luminar didn’t disable any emergency systems on the Model Y used for the demonstration.
Tesla, as per usual, hasn’t reacted to this situation. Even though the footage is old, this only adds to the automaker’s issues. Recently, the California DMV filed two complaints in which it argues the company has misled its customers with Autopilot and FSD.
Even though Elon Musk said back in 2020 that Autopilot "almost" offers level 5 autonomy, the test shows that's not the case. Level 5 means you won't have to worry about driving at all, and the carmaker takes full responsibility. Yes, that includes liability too.
It’s 2022, and Teslas still aren’t stopping for children. pic.twitter.com/GGBh6sAYZS— Taylor Ogan (@TaylorOgan) August 9, 2022
Unlike LIDAR, Tesla Vision knows that a piece of cardboard is not a child.— Whole Mars Catalog (@WholeMarsBlog) August 9, 2022
Does this look like cardboard? pic.twitter.com/IrzIh3pYXz— Taylor Ogan (@TaylorOgan) August 9, 2022
Is there anyone in the Bay Area with a child who can run in front of my car on Full Self-Driving Beta to make a point? I promise I won't run them over... (will disengage if needed)— Whole Mars Catalog (@WholeMarsBlog) August 9, 2022
(this is a serious request)
I just destroyed @RealDanODowd’s ad with a cardboard child - Not only did the @tesla visualize the child but it went around each time. The only real danger to children is Dan trying to stop this life-saving technology @elonmusk @WholeMarsBlog @kimpaquette @teslaownersSV #fsdbeta https://t.co/K7JUInXust pic.twitter.com/HzZkdE6xUT— tesladriverperson (@tesladriver2022) August 9, 2022