Tesla Motors, Inc: There's More to Autopilot Than Mobileye

Mobileye , a key player in advanced driver assistance systems, is often cited as the source of electric-car maker Tesla Motors ' industry-leading autopilot system. While Tesla acknowledges the Israel-based company does serve a key role in the system, the carmaker also relies on tech developed in-house, too.

Model S. Image source: Tesla Motors.

Tesla fires back

After a story last week implied Tesla's autopilot technology could be outdone by a 26-year-old hacker, Mobileye shares fell from about $43.50 to as low as $39.40.

One excerpt from the story, in particularly, probably sparked the sell-off:

But Tesla disagreed with themes in the article, issuing a statement aimed to clear the fog.

"The [Bloomberg] article by Ashlee Vance did not correctly represent Tesla or MobilEye," Tesla noted in the statement.

While the "correction" primarily focused on why a single person couldn't build a system on his or her own to compete with Tesla, there was another important takeaway from the note: The Mobileye tech referenced in the Bloomberg piece represents only of a fraction of the autopilot capabilities in Tesla vehicles.

Mobileye's role

Tesla's dependence on Mobileye is related to the Israeli company's vision chip.

"Their part is the best in the world at what it does and that is why we use it," Tesla noted.

But Tesla Autopilot sports plenty of other technology, including "radar, ultrasonics, GPS/nav, cameras and real-time connectivity to Tesla servers for fleet learning," Tesla explained.

Model S takes care of details even when you want to change lanes Tesla Motors (@TeslaMotors) November 24, 2015

Fleet learning is particularly critical to the autopilot system. By tapping into data provided by all of its cars, the autopilot system improves with every mile driven. Tesla CEO Elon Musk believes fleet learning will improve autopilot noticeably with each passing week.

Further more, the level of in-house technologies in Tesla's autopilot technology will make it difficult for competitors to imitate the tech, the company explained in the note referencing the Bloomberg article.

We should also clarify that Tesla's autopilot system was designed and developed in-house. Were this simply a matter of repackaging a vendor's technology, as claimed in the article, we would not be unique in offering this groundbreaking experience in production vehicles. If other car companies could meet or exceed the Tesla product by buying an off-the-shelf solution, they would do so.

Competitors who want to imitate Tesla's autopilot capabilities, which include automatic steering and lane changes at highway speeds, will need much more than Mobileye tech. They'll need to rig their own hardware and software for a more comprehensive solution.

The next billion-dollar iSecret

The world's biggest tech company forgot to show you something at its recent event, but a few Wall Street analysts and the Fool didn't miss a beat: There's a small company that's powering their brand-new gadgets and the coming revolution in technology. And we think its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors! To be one of them, just click here .

The article Tesla Motors, Inc: There's More to Autopilot Than Mobileye originally appeared on

Daniel Sparks owns shares of Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days . We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

Copyright © 1995 - 2015 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

In This Story


Other Topics


Latest Markets Videos

    The Motley Fool

    Founded in 1993 in Alexandria, VA., by brothers David and Tom Gardner, The Motley Fool is a multimedia financial-services company dedicated to building the world's greatest investment community. Reaching millions of people each month through its website, books, newspaper column, radio show, television appearances, and subscription newsletter services, The Motley Fool champions shareholder values and advocates tirelessly for the individual investor. The company's name was taken from Shakespeare, whose wise fools both instructed and amused, and could speak the truth to the king -- without getting their heads lopped off.

    Learn More