Tesla doesn't use lidar, a piece of hardware its high-profile competitors consider a necessity.
Lidar sensors are seen by Tesla's high-profile competitors, like Waymo, General Motors, and Uber, as a necessity, but Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said they're a "crutch," and that Tesla can build self-driving cars using just cameras and radars.
Gene Munster, a managing partner at the venture capital firm Loup Ventures, said while Tesla will be able to improve its semi-autonomous driver assistance system, Autopilot, without lidar, Tesla will have to use it to achieve Level 5 autonomy— which means a vehicle can drive itself without human input in all situations.
Munster said he is interested in Tesla's autonomous driving technology in part because of a 2016 video on the company's website, which depicts a vehicle driving itself on residential streets and handling situations, like left-hand turns at intersections, that present challenges for self-driving vehicles.
The video suggests that Tesla's autonomous driving technology is close to consumer-ready, but Munster said that likely isn't the case.
Adam Jonas, an auto analyst at Morgan Stanley who has a $291 price target for the stock, said Tesla will most likely use lidar within the next eight years.