Elon Musk's claims 'full of crap': GM executive

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's claims about the self-driving capabilities of his upcoming Tesla vehicles are "full of crap", General Motors' self-driving Tsar says.

Mr Musk claims his upcoming Model 3 has the hardware to allow full-self driving capability, a Holy-Grail automotive technology that is the focus of huge amounts of research, and offers the potential to allow a driver to read, eat, or even sleep during long trips.

Speaking to Australian journalists in Detroit, GM's director of autonomous vehicle integration Scott Miller, rubbished Mr Musk's claims. GM is yet to bring full self-driving capability to a consumer vehicle.

"I think he's full of crap," Mr Miller said.

"To think you can see everything you need for a level five autonomous car [full self-driving] with cameras and radar, I don't know how you do that."

Since its founding in 2003, Mr Musk has built Tesla, which manufactures electric cars, into a major competitor to the 109-year-old GM. In April, the startup surpassed General Motors to become the most-valuable American automobile manufacturer on market capitalisation, although GM recently took back the crown.

Tesla, along with other car companies, is testing its driverless vehicles across Australia's road network to ensure autopilot works in local conditions.

The Model 3 will be priced from about $50,000 in Australia when it becomes available locally. It has just begun rolling off the production line at the company's factory in California. It incorporates cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors for self-driving. The feature will be enabled when Telsa has finished perfecting the software.

But Mr Miller said he did not believe full-autonomous driving could be implemented at that price point.

GM's own solution involves several radar and Lidar sensors, as well as cameras and multiple redundancy systems. Each system costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, and GM are some way away from getting the cost low enough to be commercially viable.

"The level of technology and knowing what it takes to do the mission, to say you can be a full level five with just cameras and radars is not physically possible," Mr Miller said.

"I think you need the right sensors and right computing package to do it."

General Motors' self-driving plans involve a fleet of self-driving ride-share cars, which would compete with Uber and taxis. This fleet could be on the road within the next year or two.

A fully autonomous vehicle available for consumers to buy, however, could be 10 to 15 years away, Mr Miller said.

The story Elon Musk's claims 'full of crap': GM executive first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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