Tesla Semi equipped with apparent road lidar setup sighted in the wild

Image Credit: The Kilowatts/Twitter

The Tesla Semi is already being delivered to customers today, but the vehicle in its current state does not have driver-assist systems like Autopilot enabled. Autopilot and Full Self-Driving would raise the Tesla Semi far above its rivals in the long-haul market, but for now, at least, such features remain inactive in the Class 8 all-electric truck. 

This is not to say that Tesla has not prepared the Semi for Autopilot and FSD, however. During the vehicle’s first delivery event in December, photos of the production Tesla Semi showed that the Class 8 all-electric truck was fitted with a series of cameras. These include a three-camera array at the top of the windshield, as well as a camera right in the front bumper. These suggested that Tesla equipped the production Semi with Autopilot and FSD hardware. The systems are just not activated yet. 

A recent sighting of the Tesla Semi in the wild shared by EV group The Kilowatts suggests that the electric vehicle maker is hard at work on the Class 8 all-electric truck’s potential driver-assist features. This was hinted at in recent photos of the truck from Palo Alto, which showed a Semi fitted with what appears to be imaging equipment. A closer look at the contraption on the Semi’s hood suggests that the vehicle was fitted with a 6D road lidar from Xenomatix

A look at Xenomatix’s website would suggest that the unit mounted on the Semi is used for scanning and surveying. The company describes its technology in the section below. 

“XenomatiX uses the 6D road lidar to measure and collect high-precision and up-to-date data of road networks or sections requested by the customer. The data collected includes raw digitized road data including surface damages, surface conditions as well as road markings. The data is collected using a true solid-state lidar sensor XenoTrack mounted on any vehicle. Any road can be digitized from community road, national road, highway but also harbor quays, airport runways, and even off-road. Depending on the required usage of the data, different formats and further analyses are offered,” Xenomatix noted. 

Credit: Whole Mars Catalog/Twitter

Interestingly enough, this is not the first time that a Tesla vehicle was sighted with the same imaging unit. Back in August last year, a photo of a battle-worn Cybertruck was shared online. Similar to the Semi in the recent sighting, the apparent imaging unit on the Cybertruck appears to be Xenomatix’s road lidar. At the time, electric vehicle advocates were speculating that Tesla was likely using the equipment to finalize the position of the cameras in the all-electric pickup truck. 

Xenomatix’s video on its 6D road scanning and surveying services, which feature a lidar unit identical to those spotted in the Tesla Semi and Cybertruck, can be viewed below.

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Tesla Semi equipped with apparent road lidar setup sighted in the wild
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