There is controversy as to whether LiDAR is necessary for fully autonomous driving capability.  Tesla vehicles do not have LiDAR.  Some 2019 news reports indicate that “virtually everyone considers [LiDAR] an essential ingredient for self-driving cars” and “experts and advocates say it adds depth and visibility where camera and radar fail alone.”  However, Elon Musk called LiDAR “stupid, expensive, and unnecessary,” and in 2019, researchers at Cornell University found “two inexpensive cameras on either side of a vehicle`s windshield.” have discovered that they can detect objects with near-LiDAR accuracy and at a fraction of the cost.   Tesla also claims that it has only achieved LiDAR-like accuracy with cameras.  Functionally, Autopilot technology is quite similar in all of these cars, but Tesla`s improved Autopilot upgrade adds a few extras that aren`t available in other cars. Keep in mind that autopilot is best suited for highway driving and is not recommended to use it in other circumstances. The other problem Tesla faces is that there`s a good chance another bigger automaker will beat it to self-driving. Many automakers, including Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, all have sophisticated autonomous features in their new cars. You can even use some of these cars here on Instamotor – in fact – here are seven affordable semi-autonomous cars to look for. Most of these systems use lidar, a system that Tesla has given up, and most of them are already fully autonomous. There are safety features – like the requirement in a Mercedes-Benz that you put your hand back on the steering wheel every few seconds – to ensure that the driver does not abuse the Autopilot system.
Mercedes could make the car technically fully autonomous if it wanted to, but it hasn`t done so yet because the country`s legal situation is so bleak. Every Tesla in the U.S. and Canada can now be enrolled in the “Full Self-Driveing” beta, which allows the vehicle to drive autonomously, as long as there is a person in the driver`s seat ready to take control. So, is Tesla`s self-driving Autopilot technology ready for Australia? So why would Tesla decide to include this type of hardware when it would be illegal to use it in much of the country? Well, as one Edmunds analyst pointed out in a Reuters article, this is more of a “vanity buy” than anything else. On the other hand, Tesla`s stock has been pretty battered lately and Elon Musk, a man who is not known for staying cool, is eager to improve his performance and refute skeptics. As of October 2019, there were five deaths with Tesla`s Autopilot, though several incidents suspected of using Autopilot are still pending.  For Australia, it can be considered alongside driver assistance technology, but it is unlikely to be permitted in Australia without hands on the wheel at all times or without anyone in the driver`s seat (as is the case with other Autopilot technologies). So with all these weird things surrounding the Tesla Autopilot feature, is it legal in Australia? Well, sort of. Tesla may make headlines with its Autopilot technology, but it`s not the only option in Australia.
As we found in our tests of the Polestar 2 and Kia EV6, these other cars have their own lane assist and intelligent cruise control technologies, similar to the basic “Autopilot” level of intelligence available in Teslas. Are you concerned about the legal issues of self-driving cars? Currently, none of the autonomous vehicles on the road are level five, meaning that a person can completely relinquish control of the vehicle to be brought to its destination without increased risk of not controlling the vehicle. Tesla has yet to take its “fully autonomous” autonomous vehicle technology out of the U.S. (though it may hit right-hand drive markets later this year). This technology is currently in beta and may run into legal issues in Australia. Some industry experts have raised questions about the legal status of autonomous driving in the U.S. and whether Tesla owners would violate applicable government regulations when using the Autopilot feature. The few states that have passed laws allowing self-driving cars on the road limit their use for testing purposes, not for the general public.
There are also questions about liability for self-driving cars in case of a bug.  A Tesla spokesperson said there was “nothing in our Autopilot system that is contrary to current regulations. We can`t get rid of the pilot. It`s about freeing the driver from tedious tasks so they can focus and make a better contribution. Google`s director of self-driving cars said he doesn`t think there is a regulatory hold as long as the self-driving vehicle meets crash tests and other safety standards. A spokesperson for the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that “any autonomous vehicle should meet the safety standards applicable to motor vehicles” and that NHTSA “will have the appropriate policies and regulations in place to ensure the safety of this type of vehicle.”  In August, the California Department of Motor Vehicles said Tesla was lying about its Autopilot technology. Also in August, this video of a Tesla ploughing a child`s dummy went viral on Twitter. This isn`t the first time the safety of Tesla`s fully autonomous driving technology has been called into question. Tesla requires operators to monitor and remain responsible for the vehicle at all times, even when Autopilot is activated.
Autopilot functions, including autonomous driving functions, are classified at Level 2.  Tesla`s owner`s manual states that Autopilot should not be used on city roads or on roads where traffic conditions are constantly changing.    However, some of the current fully autonomous driving features (“Traffic Control and Stop Sign Control (BETA)”) and future fully autonomous driving features (“Autosteering on City Streets”) are announced for urban roads.  Autonomous vehicles are still a long way off in Australia. For now, however, “Autopilot” largely refers to driver assistance technology in cars, such as lane keeping and intelligent cruise control, which are available and permitted in Australian vehicles. Right now, the only state that explicitly allows driverless vehicles in Australia is South Australia, and that`s to test the technology. The disadvantages of self-driving cars are seen as unintended consequences for a number of industries. They would eliminate many jobs for truck drivers, ride-sharing drivers and other delivery drivers. There may be instances where hackers could take control of a vehicle. And then there`s an impact on the auto industry and the auto insurance industry. For each route on which Navigate on Autopilot is available, you have the option to activate it by pressing the NAVIGATE ON AUTOPILOT button in your list of navigation tours.