The way Elon Musk recently spoke about self-driving Tesla electric cars has changed. Level 5 autonomous driving is apparently no longer on the agenda.
Elon Musk and broken promises is a saga that is far from over. During the question and answer game at the last conference following the financial results for the third quarter of 2022, the boss of Tesla changed his mind about the ability of his vehicles to drive without human intervention in the near future.
A surprise that is no longer a surprise, as the promises are no longer kept
For five long years now, Elon Musk has done nothing but promise autonomous driving to buyers of the option billed at 7,500 euros in France (fully autonomous driving capability) and up to 15,000 dollars excluding taxes on the other. side of the Atlantic (FSD for Full Self Driving).
If in the USA it is possible to take advantage of the functionality in beta mode for the moment, the boss of Tesla had no choice but to recognize the truth that many already know: true autonomous driving at Tesla , not for now.
If the promises of 2019 revolved around the million Tesla robotaxis without anyone driving in the near future, the promises of the end of 2022 are much less ambitious for the manufacturer and its CEO. Indeed, when the question when Tesla will be able to offer level 4 or 5 autonomous driving — that is, without any need for human intervention — was asked, the answer was rather very vague, even too vague:
Well, there’s this debate about response per mile and maybe safety related response per mile. We’re not saying it’s quite ready to have no one driving. It’s just that you almost never have to touch the controls of the vehicle. So when I arrived at Giga Texas from a friend’s house today, I never touched any of the controls.
And then there’s a longer process called walking the 9s, which is how many 9s of reliability do you need before you can really get comfortable and say the car can drive without anyone on board ? And there is some subjectivity as to how many 9s you need. But I think we’ll be close to having enough 9s (see below) that you won’t have anyone in the car by the end of this year. And certainly, without a doubt, that’s on my mind next year.
The “march of 9” that Elon Musk talks about is the probability that there will be no incidents related to autonomous driving on a given route. If this probability is 99.99%, there are two 9s. If it is 99.99999%, there are five 9s..
Thereby, the promise is no longer at all to have a perfectly autonomous vehicle, but rather to have a vehicle that you will only rarely have to take control of. It is therefore out of the question to sleep on board, sinceyou have to be ready to take your hand at all times.
Finally, during this quarterly conference, Elon Musk announced that the regulators’ agreement on Tesla’s autonomous driving was not for now. Next year’s goal is to show US regulators that the technology is safer, on average, than a human driver. But this is far from a foregone conclusion, given that the NHTSA (the American highway safety authority) has long had Tesla in its sights.
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