John Krafcik, Waymo's CEO has reiterated that Tesla's autopilot technology isn't a rival to Tesla's autopilot but rather characterised it as an advanced driver assistance feature. He revealed these thoughts in an interview with Manager Magazine.
"For us, Tesla is not a competitor at all," Krafcik said. "We manufacture a completely autonomous driving system. Tesla is an automaker that is developing a really good driver assistance system," said Krafcik.
Musk has long argued that LiDARs are expensive and are a dead-end for autonomous driving. Tesla's vehicles combine an elaborate suite of sensors and cameras coupled with powerful on-device semiconductors which have been developed in-house to manage autopilot.
Tesla has been fine-tuning its algorithms by harvesting data complied by millions of miles clocked on Tesla vehicles that are already on the roads. Waymo has been perfecting its LiDAR and software with a vision for a completely passive transportation experience which doesn't need any driver intervention.
"It is a misconception that you can just keep developing a driver assistance system until one day you can magically leap to a fully autonomous driving system," Krafcik said. "In terms of robustness and accuracy, for example, our sensors are orders of magnitude better than what we see on the road from other manufacturers," Krafcik argues.
Tesla's autopilot technology has been notorious for various accidents where users have shown a tendency to depend on it fully and have not paid attention to the road moved their hands away from the wheel. But Musk has repeatedly been saying that Tesla will deliver full autonomous technology since 2018, but is yet to deliver.
Its latest self-driving beta which has been rolled out to limited users was trained on the new DOJO supercomputer. But videos have surfaced that this software also isn't up to the mark.
Krafcik in fact revealed that Waymo's original plan was the same as Tesla's but the strategy was rejected years ago.