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Old 17th August 2022, 05:06 AM   #1
Puppycow
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The current state of the art in self-driving vehicles

Well, it's not Tesla. It's Waymo (formerly Google's self-driving car project, now a separate company owned by Google's holding company).

Unlike Tesla's "Full Self Driving" feature, which is not actually fully autonomous as the name would suggest, these vehicles are in fact fully autonomous.

Apologies for a video from the company itself, but this just shows how far it has come. There's no longer even a safety driver for "just-in-case" (except for when there's new software being tested).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hA_-MkU0Nfw

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I AGREE


The cars also don't look quite so silly anymore, in my opinion, although I'm sure the kit for all of the sensors can and will be made less obtrusive as the technology evolves.
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Old 17th August 2022, 05:39 AM   #2
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Ok. Now make it work in the winter or in heavy rain.

I am not optimistic about seeing truly autonomous vehicles able to tackle all environments in my lifetime.
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Old 17th August 2022, 11:08 AM   #3
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@Puppycow
Quote:
Apologies for a video from the company itself, but this just shows how far it has come.
Still not sure how far they have come
A nice presentation until I noticed at about 3:01, there was a comment about 'bumper-to-bumper traffic, and the vehicles behind were hanging back somewhat, while being rather clustered themselves.

Would make you think the Waymo has a sign on the back that says " Stay back 50 feet ! " even though you can see it doesn't.

Makes me wonder if all the other scenarios were staged also.
No, wait, it doesn't make me wonder. Of course they were.

They left out " Stage, Sense, Solve and Go "..

How wonderful if real drivers had that luxury.

Of course Tesla stages all of there safety demos too..
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Old 17th August 2022, 05:07 PM   #4
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They staged the video because they wanted good cinematic shots, but these taxis are available now in San Francisco, which is not a simple driving environment. Lots of hills and weird traffic patterns. At that isn't staged.
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Old 17th August 2022, 08:02 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by erlando View Post
I am not optimistic about seeing truly autonomous vehicles able to tackle all environments in my lifetime.
Sorry to hear that. I hope to live longer.
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Old 17th August 2022, 08:50 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Well, it's not Tesla. It's Waymo (formerly Google's self-driving car project, now a separate company owned by Google's holding company).

Unlike Tesla's "Full Self Driving" feature, which is not actually fully autonomous as the name would suggest, these vehicles are in fact fully autonomous.
I'm not sure Waymo actually is ahead of Tesla in terms of technology.

Right now, it's true that Waymo cars are doing fully autonomous driving while Tesla cars are not. But they aren't actually working on equivalent problems. From what I understand, Waymo is only operating in San Francisco and Phoenix because they've fully mapped out those cities in detail, so they can program their cars to work in those specific environments. But that's not a really generalizable approach. It doesn't work where you haven't done this detailed mapping,

Tesla, on the other hand, is working on a generalized approach that doesn't depend on such detailed mapping. In effect, they're working on a much harder problem. Yes, they haven't got it to the full self-driving stage yet. But if the question is, who is closer to being able to do self driving anywhere, it's not obvious to me that Waymo is at an advantage. It seems to me that Tesla's approach may actually be closer.
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Old 17th August 2022, 10:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
Sorry to hear that. I hope to live longer.
I'm 51 now. I expect to have around 30-40 years left. I'm not confident that fully autonomous vehicles capable of driving anywhere will be a thing by then. I'd love to be proven wrong though.
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Old 18th August 2022, 12:32 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
I'm not sure Waymo actually is ahead of Tesla in terms of technology.

Right now, it's true that Waymo cars are doing fully autonomous driving while Tesla cars are not. But they aren't actually working on equivalent problems. From what I understand, Waymo is only operating in San Francisco and Phoenix because they've fully mapped out those cities in detail, so they can program their cars to work in those specific environments. But that's not a really generalizable approach. It doesn't work where you haven't done this detailed mapping,

Tesla, on the other hand, is working on a generalized approach that doesn't depend on such detailed mapping. In effect, they're working on a much harder problem. Yes, they haven't got it to the full self-driving stage yet. But if the question is, who is closer to being able to do self driving anywhere, it's not obvious to me that Waymo is at an advantage. It seems to me that Tesla's approach may actually be closer.
Waymo appears to be providing level 3.5/4 self driving (within the confines of a specific area), and are pretty much there using the sensor suite they have and the restricted area they are using.

Tesla may be going for level 5 (any time any place) but they aren't even using all the sensor types Waymo is using. I seem to recall they don't use lidar because money or somesuch. Tesla are nowhere near level 5, they can't even make level 3 work consistently.


The question might be, is level 5 a realistic and useful goal, or would manufacturers be better to stick to level 4 but seek to expand the areas and conditions within which level 4 automation can operate.
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Old 18th August 2022, 08:37 AM   #9
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The Google Car used to have trouble 'seeing' the kerb when the gutter is filled with fallen leaves. Did they solve that?
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Old 18th August 2022, 08:46 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Lplus View Post
Tesla may be going for level 5 (any time any place) but they aren't even using all the sensor types Waymo is using. I seem to recall they don't use lidar because money or somesuch. Tesla are nowhere near level 5, they can't even make level 3 work consistently.
Until someone reaches the finish line, we won't know for sure which approach works best. But it seems like Tesla's approach is to work on a generalized driving AI first. Adding additional sensors to such an AI should be pretty easy. But if you build your AI specifically to the sensors and the map, I'm not sure how easy you can then extend that to cases without the map, or where you need to use fewer sensors (cost is a real factor). If the AI part is harder than the sensors part, then the Tesla approach may end up working better.

But again, we won't know for sure until someone pulls it off. And then it will seem obvious in retrospect.
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Old 18th August 2022, 09:50 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
The Google Car used to have trouble 'seeing' the kerb when the gutter is filled with fallen leaves. Did they solve that?
If they have can they roll that out for human drivers?
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Old 19th August 2022, 04:33 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
If they have can they roll that out for human drivers?
iirc robo cars 'measure' the distance to the kerb with lidar, which is why the leaves pose a problem. Humans don't need to do that as it's more a question of 'the kerb is roughly where the pile of leaves rises to a peak, but I won't get that close anyway'
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Old 19th August 2022, 10:20 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
iirc robo cars 'measure' the distance to the kerb with lidar, which is why the leaves pose a problem. Humans don't need to do that as it's more a question of 'the kerb is roughly where the pile of leaves rises to a peak, but I won't get that close anyway'
Yep, ain't it amazing what the human brain can infer from a bit of seemingly irrelevant information.
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Old 19th August 2022, 10:33 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
iirc robo cars 'measure' the distance to the kerb with lidar, which is why the leaves pose a problem. Humans don't need to do that as it's more a question of 'the kerb is roughly where the pile of leaves rises to a peak, but I won't get that close anyway'
You have humans running on better software than we have around here. There's a whole industry for repairing scuffs on alloy wheels. And never mind kerbs hereabouts it's the ditches they drive in to. For some reason seems to mainly be Minis and Porches that end up in the ditches.
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Old 19th August 2022, 03:43 PM   #15
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Everybody should be focused on developing fully autonomous robots that can incidentally drive cars, because what self driving car is ever going to give you a foot massage?
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Old 19th August 2022, 07:35 PM   #16
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To add to zig’s point: Tesla seems to be gathering far more data about driving. At the end of the day the more data an AI has the more it can learn from that data. Would be better if they had kept all the sensors, but they still appear to be collecting miles driven at a more rapid rate than anyone else.
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Old 20th August 2022, 05:17 AM   #17
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One of the problems Waymo is having is random attacks from hostile people:

https://www.theverge.com/2022/7/7/23...attack-arizona

Quote:
But while local elected officials and business leaders have welcomed the company with open arms, some residents are less than enthused about sharing the road with Waymo’s robot vehicles.

The company’s vehicles have been subject to a variety of attacks in the past few years, including people threatening or physically attacking them with guns, knives, and rocks. In 2018, The Arizona Republic reported that police in Chandler, one of the towns where Waymo operates, have logged at least two dozen incidents.

Some drivers have tried running Waymo’s vehicles off the road. A man drove up alongside one of the company’s minivans and threatened the safety driver with a piece of PVC pipe, according to The New York Times.
Ultimately one of the big problems is not the technology of self-driving, but the behavior of human beings in opposition to that technology. Although, it could just be an adjustment period that will go away once people become used to the technology and take it for granted. I think there was similar thing when automobiles first appeared, when most people still used horses. People tend to resist new things that upset the status quo.
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Old 20th August 2022, 05:42 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Until someone reaches the finish line, we won't know for sure which approach works best. But it seems like Tesla's approach is to work on a generalized driving AI first. Adding additional sensors to such an AI should be pretty easy. But if you build your AI specifically to the sensors and the map, I'm not sure how easy you can then extend that to cases without the map, or where you need to use fewer sensors (cost is a real factor). If the AI part is harder than the sensors part, then the Tesla approach may end up working better.

But again, we won't know for sure until someone pulls it off. And then it will seem obvious in retrospect.
But the lidar does real time mapping and compares to what used to be there, so info in continuously updated as well - at least for Cruise.

Another issue everyone struggles with is "negative obstacles," like potholes, and how to deal with them. A human can typically assess if they can drive over it or need to go around, yet the autonomous struggle with this issue.

* Disclaimer - I work in the plant that builds the Cruise Bolts and help productionize that vehicle.
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Old 20th August 2022, 06:57 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Disbelief View Post
But the lidar does real time mapping and compares to what used to be there, so info in continuously updated as well - at least for Cruise.

Another issue everyone struggles with is "negative obstacles," like potholes, and how to deal with them. A human can typically assess if they can drive over it or need to go around, yet the autonomous struggle with this issue.

* Disclaimer - I work in the plant that builds the Cruise Bolts and help productionize that vehicle.
A member of my board has worked for Cruise for several years now. Started out as a "driver" and now works in an office.
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Old 20th August 2022, 07:12 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by ZiprHead View Post
A member of my board has worked for Cruise for several years now. Started out as a "driver" and now works in an office.
Cruise started with buying Bolts then retrofitting them, before we started doing the work here. We then automated it to run in our normal assembly line and I was responsible for scheduling and building the bodies.

I had a young engineer working for me when I was in a different role and he left GM to work for Cruise. I've seen him a few times since and he really enjoys it.
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Old 22nd August 2022, 08:18 PM   #21
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I wonder what happens when all the cars are using all those scanning sensors?
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Old 22nd August 2022, 10:18 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by a_unique_person View Post
I wonder what happens when all the cars are using all those scanning sensors?
By that point I assume that people will have become accustomed to it.

I remember when mobile phones were still a new thing in Japan and much was made about "manners" when using them on the train. Also, you were supposed to turn them off if you were near a priority seat. Now, you rarely see anyone on a train anymore who isn't looking at a smart phone.

So it may simply be that there is an adjustment period where some people resist the new technology for a while, before eventually becoming accustomed to its ubiquity.
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Old 22nd August 2022, 11:20 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
By that point I assume that people will have become accustomed to it.

I remember when mobile phones were still a new thing in Japan and much was made about "manners" when using them on the train. Also, you were supposed to turn them off if you were near a priority seat. Now, you rarely see anyone on a train anymore who isn't looking at a smart phone.

So it may simply be that there is an adjustment period where some people resist the new technology for a while, before eventually becoming accustomed to its ubiquity.
I think the question was more in the direction "if every vehicle is saturating the environment with lidar how do the vehicles filter out the false returns?"
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Old 23rd August 2022, 12:08 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by erlando View Post
I think the question was more in the direction "if every vehicle is saturating the environment with lidar how do the vehicles filter out the false returns?"
Perhaps by putting a unique identifier in the lidar pulse each vehicle might be able to recognise its own output?
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Old 23rd August 2022, 12:55 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by erlando View Post
I think the question was more in the direction "if every vehicle is saturating the environment with lidar how do the vehicles filter out the false returns?"
I do not think it will be a major issue. A return from 150 meters away will return in 10^-9 seconds. So a return should be from a very narrow window. Anything outside of that could be ignored. Add in information from other sources and the results would be even better. There could even be communication between vehicles so that they exchange what they can see and are doing.
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Old 23rd August 2022, 04:40 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
I do not think it will be a major issue. A return from 150 meters away will return in 10^-9 seconds. So a return should be from a very narrow window. Anything outside of that could be ignored. Add in information from other sources and the results would be even better. There could even be communication between vehicles so that they exchange what they can see and are doing.
Is this happening in any of the prototypes we have running about (including Tesla in prototypes)?
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Old 23rd August 2022, 04:53 AM   #27
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Exchanging information? Pretty sure that is actually happening. Like real time traffic conditions.
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Old 23rd August 2022, 09:06 AM   #28
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Should be noted that newer Teslas don’t have radar. Cameras only. No idea if any FSD beta cars are vision only though.
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Old 23rd August 2022, 11:50 AM   #29
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Looks like Tesla FSD is using vision only. No radar.
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Old 23rd August 2022, 12:02 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Shalamar View Post
Should be noted that newer Teslas don’t have radar. Cameras only. No idea if any FSD beta cars are vision only though.
Originally Posted by Shalamar View Post
Looks like Tesla FSD is using vision only. No radar.
But do the newer Telsas have radar?
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Old 23rd August 2022, 01:32 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by wareyin View Post
But do the newer Telsas have radar?
They do not. At least the Model 3's and Y's do not any longer.
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Old 23rd August 2022, 01:50 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Shalamar View Post
They do not. At least the Model 3's and Y's do not any longer.
Interesting. How they judge distance?
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Old 23rd August 2022, 02:12 PM   #33
Ziggurat
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
Interesting. How they judge distance?
Probably the same way humans do.
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Old 23rd August 2022, 06:24 PM   #34
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Aren't there ultrasonic sensors on a Tesla? What role do they play?

ETA: I tried to google this subject before asking that question and have continued a bit more. It gives me a headache. A lot of confusing information out there. A lot of writers seem to conflate radar, lidar, and sonar.

Last edited by RecoveringYuppy; 23rd August 2022 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 23rd August 2022, 06:45 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Disbelief View Post
Cruise started with buying Bolts then retrofitting them, before we started doing the work here. We then automated it to run in our normal assembly line and I was responsible for scheduling and building the bodies.

I had a young engineer working for me when I was in a different role and he left GM to work for Cruise. I've seen him a few times since and he really enjoys it.
Yeah, he likes it a lot. He's been bouncing around in many jobs after his career in radio advertising went bust.
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Old 23rd August 2022, 09:21 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Aren't there ultrasonic sensors on a Tesla? What role do they play?

ETA: I tried to google this subject before asking that question and have continued a bit more. It gives me a headache. A lot of confusing information out there. A lot of writers seem to conflate radar, lidar, and sonar.
I tried too. Apparently on some of their cars, but not all.

https://www.tesla.com/ownersmanual/m...2378E0EC2.html
Quote:
Ultrasonic sensors (if equipped) are located in the front and rear bumpers.
https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a3...y-pure-vision/
https://www.theverge.com/2021/5/25/2...-model-3-y-fsd
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Old 23rd August 2022, 11:07 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Probably the same way humans do.
I would think that automated driving would require a bit more granularity in distances than "near" or "far"...
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Old 24th August 2022, 05:09 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Probably the same way humans do.
By barely paying attention as they apply their makeup or play on their phones?
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Old 24th August 2022, 05:29 AM   #39
GlennB
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Probably the same way humans do.
At close range we use the difference in degree that our eyeballs have to swivel to get both in the right direction focusing on the object. If a car is to use that method it would need two cameras that can rotate (to an extent anyway) for any direction where judging distance is an issue.

At greater distances we use 'experience'. We've seen people, cars, houses etc at various distances and 'know' how big they are in absolute terms, so we can judge their distance, at least as far as driving safety is concerned. 'That person walking across the road is so far away that there's no immediate need to take action' etc
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Old 24th August 2022, 11:37 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by GlennB View Post
At close range we use the difference in degree that our eyeballs have to swivel to get both in the right direction focusing on the object. If a car is to use that method it would need two cameras that can rotate (to an extent anyway) for any direction where judging distance is an issue.
You need to calculate an angle, but a computer doesn't need to physically rotate the camera to calculate that angle. In fact, that's counter-productive.
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