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Tesla bought over $2 million worth of lidar sensors from Luminar this year

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses Elon Musk's stance on lidar technology and Tesla's recent purchase of lidar sensors from Luminar, a leading lidar manufacturer. It highlights the apparent reversal in Tesla's position on lidar, despite Musk's previous criticism of the technology as a "crutch" for autonomous driving.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Elon Musk's Stance on Lidar

1. What is Elon Musk's view on lidar technology?

  • Elon Musk has previously criticized lidar, calling it a "crutch" and stating that any company relying on lidar for autonomous capabilities is "doomed."
  • Musk has boasted that Tesla's vehicles can achieve self-driving capabilities using only camera-based vision systems, without the need for lidar or other sensors.

2. How does Tesla's recent purchase of lidar from Luminar contradict Musk's stance?

  • Tesla has become Luminar's largest lidar customer in Q1 2023, accounting for over 10% of Luminar's revenue, which translates to around $2.1 million worth of lidar sensors.
  • This represents a remarkable reversal in Tesla's position, as the company has previously reduced the number of sensors used in its advanced driver-assist features like Autopilot and Full Self-Driving.

[02] Tesla's Use of Lidar

1. What is Tesla's potential use of the Luminar lidar sensors?

  • It is unclear what Tesla is doing with the $2.1 million worth of Luminar lidar sensors, as the company has not officially commented on the matter.
  • Possibilities include:
    • Using the lidar for testing and developing its Full Self-Driving feature in preparation for a robotaxi launch
    • Retrofitting the lidar sensors to its autonomous testing fleet vehicles in cities like San Francisco and Las Vegas

2. How does Tesla's use of lidar contradict Musk's public stance?

  • Despite Musk's public criticism of lidar, Tesla is quietly purchasing a significant amount of lidar sensors from Luminar, suggesting the company is reconsidering its stance on the technology.
  • This raises questions about whether Musk will eventually have to "swallow his pride" and acknowledge the value of lidar for autonomous driving, even if he continues to publicly dismiss it.
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