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Tesla Model S with new self-driving tech spotted in the wild

by Jacob Kleinman | July 7, 2016July 7, 2016 3:30 pm PDT

We previously reported that Tesla is preparing to launch Autopilot 2.0 this year, bringing it closer to true autonomous driving. Now the company has been spotted testing a modified version of its Model S with an extra self-driving sensor on top.

An image published by Tesla Owner (reported by electreck) shows the car with a specially mounted LIDAR sensor. That’s the same technology used in Google’s self-driving cars. The Model S was actually disguised with a large Stanford University sticker and an anonymous license plate, but the blogger followed the vehicle back to a parking lot at Tesla headquarters.

Tesla has publicly denied any plans to use LIDAR, and CEO Elon Musk says he’s not a fan of the technology for vehicles. Instead, Autopilot 2.0 is expected to rely on a pair of forward-facing cameras, which the company is already reportedly testing in public.

The company may simply be testing LIDAR against its own technology to see which solution is better, but it’s also possible Tesla could be changing its tune. We won’t know for sure until Autopilot 2.0 rolls out later this year.

Tesla Owner Electrek

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...