Like Tesla, Toyota is developing self-driving technology with cheap cameras

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© . A camera system to collect data and develop technology for self-driving cars, developed by Toyota’s subsidiary Woven Planet, can be seen atop an autonomous test vehicle in the San Francisco Bay Area, USA, in this undated photo of the Woven Planet on Ap

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San Francisco () -Toyota Motor Corp unit Woven Planet is following the lead of Tesla (NASDAQ:) Inc in its efforts to advance self-driving technology with low-cost cameras. Woven Planet told it can use cameras to collect data and effectively train its self-driving system, a “breakthrough” that it hopes will help cut costs and scale the technology. Collecting diverse driving data using a massive fleet of cars is critical to developing a robust self-driving car system, but it’s expensive and unscalable to test autonomous vehicles with expensive sensors alone, it said. Woven Planet still uses data collected from other sensors such as radars and lidars for training and long-term deployment. Tesla has bet on cameras to collect data from more than 1 million vehicles on the road to develop its automated driving technology, while Alphabet’s Waymo (NASDAQ:) and other self-driving car companies added expensive sensors like lidars to a small number of vehicles. “We need a lot of data. And it’s not enough just to have 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, in an interview. with . “Rather, we’re trying to demonstrate that we can unlock the advantage that Toyota and a major automaker would have of access to a huge corpus of data, but with much lower reliability,” said Benisch, a former technical director at The Self-Driving Company. division of Lyft (NASDAQ:), which Toyota acquired last year. Woven Planet uses cameras that are 90% cheaper than the sensors it used before and that can be easily installed in passenger car fleets. It said using most of the data from cheap cameras boosted the system’s performance to levels comparable to training the system on expensive sensor data alone. However, he said Toyota would still use multiple sensors such as lidars and radars for robotaxis and other autonomous vehicles deployed on the road, as this seemed like the best and safest approach to developing robotaxis at the moment. Toyota is also working with Aurora to test an autonomous driving fleet 03-23 ​​based on the Toyota Sienna minivans, equipped with lidars, radars and cameras. “But in many, many years, it’s very possible that camera-type technology can catch up and overtake some of the more advanced sensors,” he said. “The question may be more when and how long it will take to reach a level of security and reliability. I believe we don’t know yet.” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said it could achieve full autonomy with cameras this year https://www.reuters.com/article/tesla-robots-idCNL1N2U702E after missing its previous targets several times.

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