Elon Musk slams rivals' self-driving car tech, says 'anyone relying on Lidar is doomed'

elon muskPhoto by J. Emilio Flores/Corbis via Getty Images

  • Elon Musk did not mince words about his thoughts on Lidar sensor technology during Tesla's "Autonomy Day" event on Monday.
  • "Lidar is a fool's errand," Musk said. "Anyone relying on lidar is doomed."
  • Lidar is a honeycomb-looking sensor that many companies, including Alphabet's Waymo, rely on to give their self-driving cars an understanding of the road and what's on it.
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Elon Musk did not mince words about his thoughts on Lidar sensor technology, which many companies rely on to give their self-driving cars an understanding of the road and what's on it.

"Lidar is a fool's errand," Musk said on stage during Tesla's "Autonomy Day" event, where it detailed its latest advancements in full self-driving car technology. "Anyone relying on lidar is doomed. Expensive sensors that are unnecessary. It's like having a whole bunch of expensive appendices. Like one appendix is bad, well how about a whole bunch of them? That's ridiculous. You'll see."

Read more: Tesla unveils the 'best chip in the world' for self-driving cars at its autonomy day event

Musk's comment takes direct aim other autonomous car companies, like Alphabet's self-driving arm, Waymo, which relies on honeycomb-looking lidar sensors.

When asked about how companies will use lidar in the future, Musk said: "They're all going to dump lidar. That's my prediction. Mark my words."

Musk said he doesn't hate lidar as much as it sounded. In fact, he pointed to an example at SpaceX where he personally spearheaded a project to create lidar sensors to help navigate to the space station.

In cars, though, Musk said the sensors simply do not make sense.

"It's expensive and unnecessary. You have expensive hardware that's worthless on the car," Musk said.

The competition between Tesla and other autonomous car companies, like Waymo, had already been heating up before Musk's jabs on Monday, given Telsa's recent hints about entering the robo-taxi market. Waymo has already begun rolling out its autonomous taxi services in Arizona, starting to charge customers last December.

Musk, however, appeared to be incredibly confident on Monday regarding the self-driving hardware his team had created.

"It seems improbable. How could we at Telsa, who has never designed a chip before... design the best chip in the world," Musk said. "But that is what, objectively, what has occurred. And not best by a small margin, but best by a huge margin."

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