Toyota joins Tesla in developing low-cost autonomous driving technology to increase availability.
The Toyota Woven Planet has joined Tesla in trying to advance autonomous driving technology without expensive sensors such as lidars.
Woven Planet said it could use cheap cameras to collect data and effectively train its autonomous driving system, a “renovation” that it hopes will help reduce costs and expand technology.
Collecting a variety of driving data using a massive fleet of cars is essential to developing a robust autonomous car system, but it is expensive and not scalable to test autonomous vehicles with expensive sensors, they say.
Tesla has bet on cameras to collect data from more than 1 million vehicles on the road to develop auto-driving technology, while Alphabet’s Waymo and other autonomous car companies have added expensive sensors, such as lidar, to a small number of vehicles.
“We need a lot of data. And it’s not enough to have just a small amount of data that can be collected from a small fleet of very expensive autonomous vehicles, “said Michael Benisch, vice president of engineering at Woven Planet.
One million vehicles used Tesla
“Rather, we are trying to show that we can unlock the advantage that Toyota and a major automaker would have, namely access to a huge body of data, but with much lower fidelity,” said Benisch, former director. of engineering at Lyft, the autonomous driving division, which Toyota acquired last year.
Woven Planet uses cameras that are 90 percent cheaper than the sensors it used to be and can be easily installed in passenger car fleets.
She said that using most of the data from low-cost cameras increased her system’s performance to a level similar to when the system was trained exclusively on high-cost sensor data.
He said, however, that Toyota will continue to use more sensors, such as lidar and radar for robotic taxis and other autonomous vehicles to be deployed on the road, as it currently appeared to be the best and most safe approach to robot-taxi development.
“But in many, many years, it is entirely possible that camera-type technology can catch up and surpass some of the more advanced sensors,” he said.
“The question may be more about when and how long it will take to reach a level of safety and reliability. I don’t think we know that yet. “
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he could achieve full autonomy with the cameras this year, after repeatedly missing his previous goals.