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Nissan agrees with Tesla: Lidar unnecessary, too expensive

The company hopes to have autonomous cars  on the road by 2020.

Nissan has joined Tesla in shunning lidar for self-driving cars, admitting the technology is too expensive and may not be necessary.

Tesla chief Elon Musk recently outlined his reasons for dismissing lidar, arguing that the technology is a "fool's errand" and gives a false sense of progress as a shortcut around "the vision problem." The executive pointed out that road systems and traffic controls are already designed to be interpreted by human eyes.

Nissan's general manager of advanced technology development for automated driving, Tetsuya Iijima, recently told reporters that there is an "imbalance" between lidar's cost and capabilities, according to a Reuters report.

"At the moment, lidar lacks the capabilities to exceed the capabilities of the latest technology in radar and cameras," he said. "It would be fantastic if lidar technology was at the level that we could use it in our systems, but it's not."

Importantly, Tesla believes its neural-network technology -- claimed to be necessary to solve the 'vision problem' -- is far head of any rival, yet still requires further refinement before the company will roll out self-driving capabilities.

Nissan aims to have "commercially viable autonomous-drive vehicles" on the road by 2020.

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