One of the arguments that I have often heard is that in the competition amongst self driving cars, Tesla has an advantage because it has more cars on the road, thereby collecting a LOT more data than any of the other companies’ (Apple, Uber, Google) cars.
I don’t buy that argument.
Tesla surely has a lot more cars with consumers who have purchased cars from roadster onwards, but it sure doesn’t have the data that it needs to train the car to drive by itself. Having cars driven around every street of the world under all kinds of conditions is not all. The car needs to be able to collect data using *many* sensors (cameras, LIDAR, speed, road conditions, traffic sensing and so on). Only then would their computers be able to learn how to drive the car in the conditions that are presented to them.
To build autonomous cars, a *lot* of data needs to be collected about the road conditions and it might also be useful to have a person sit in the car and point out things that may not be obvious to all the sensors in the car. So Tesla’s argument that their cars will become autonomous sooner than others because they have more miles on them is not cool.