Many successful implementations of intelligent vehicles are using laser based technology to perceive the area around the vehicle, providing a dense 3D point cloud covering an extended range. However, such technology is still too expensive to be a candidate for series production, and its integration requirements are hardly compatible with cost and style constraints dictated by the mainstream automotive market. On the other hand computer vision is reaching close enough results in terms of sensing performance to be a viable alternative. Vision also brings additional advantages such as a much lower price and straighforward integration options. This paper presents a comparison of these two technologies.