Tesla Inc. is currently engaged in a legal dispute over allegations of unauthorized incorporation of protected digital-imaging technology into its vehicles. A lawsuit filed in Waco, Texas, earlier this month claims that Tesla utilized technology developed by engineers from Kodak Co. without obtaining the necessary patents.
The lawsuit, brought forward by Monument Peak Ventures LLC, asserts that Tesla’s models 3, S, X, and Y violated seven patents related to digital imaging innovations created by Kodak. These patents encompass various technologies involved in capturing and interpreting digital images, which are crucial for Tesla’s Autopilot system.
According to Motor Mouth Arabia, Tesla vehicles use up to eight installed cameras, providing a comprehensive 360-degree view. These cameras are instrumental in enabling Tesla’s Autopilot system to detect and interpret the surrounding environment.
If Kodak wins the lawsuit, Tesla Autopilot could be in significant jeopardy.
Tesla has committed itself to camera-based driver assistance software. Unlike other autonomous vehicle makers, Tesla has refused to consider using LIDAR sensors. This is in spite of the fact that LIDAR sensors provide a much more detailed view of a driver’s surroundings than cameras.
In addition, Tesla has not made improving its self-driving technology a major priority. In 2016, Tesla became the first automaker to announce that all of its vehicles would be equipped with autonomous driving software. However, in a Consumer Reports survey from earlier this year, Tesla’s driver assistance technology had slipped to eighth place out of 17 automakers.
Tesla has yet to issue a public statement in response to Kodak’s lawsuit.
As Kodak sues Tesla for intellectual property theft, other companies are doing the same. In August, Graphite Charging Company sued Tesla for infringing on two patents related to EV charging infrastructure. The patented technology allows companies to detect when the EV charging process is interrupted.
The Graphite case has yet to be resolved.
Image Source: Tony Mao