In an interview with MIT researcher Lex Fridman, Musk claimed that Tesla is lower than two years away from bringing a totally autonomous car to market. Elon Musk additionally stated that the corporate may very well be “vastly ahead” of others on this race, although he did play modest by including that he may very well be unsuitable in his evaluation.
The South African billionaire is understood for taking pictures off on the mouth and tweeting his way into trouble. So his claims of Tesla presumably being the chief in self-driving expertise don’t come as a shock. But it’s fairly straightforward to show that that is one other one in every of Elon Musk’s extremely optimistic claims.
Tesla’s Imperfect Scorecard
Tesla’s self-driving capabilities are questionable, as a well-documented history of fatal crashes reveals. People have been killed as a result of the autopilot system has didn’t ship in life-and-death conditions, equivalent to failing to brake in time and driving headlong right into a trailer.
That occasion happened in 2016, however you don’t have to return far to seek out extra examples of Tesla automobiles inflicting deaths. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating two deadly Tesla automotive crashes that happened lower than a few months in the past in Florida.
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With the variety of Tesla crashes racking up, and tragically the victims, Elon Musk’s assertion that his expertise may very well be forward of different firms growing self-driving automobiles may be thought of irresponsible at greatest.
Elon Musk Contradicts His Peers
Musk’s perception that Tesla’s autonomous car expertise is best than the others may be simply defeated if we check out Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving mission. Waymo’s autonomous automobiles racked up 1.26 million miles on California roads final 12 months, and the self-driving system needed to be disengaged solely as soon as each 11,017 miles. Waymo has been growing self-driving automobiles for a decade and is the primary one to supply a industrial ride-hailing service.
Despite Waymo’s good observe file in autonomous automobiles, nevertheless, John Krafcik, the CEO of the Alphabet subsidiary, is self-aware. He believes that self-driving automobiles will at all times suffer from limitations and human enter will at all times be required.
Krafcik’s views are echoed by Ford CEO Jim Hackett, who just lately said that the corporate “overestimated the arrival of autonomous vehicles” and their “applications will be narrow, what we call geo-fenced, because the problem is so complex.”
Not surprisingly, Brad Templeton, who suggested Google’s self-driving automotive mission in its early years, said:
“Tesla Autopilot is not yet even close to where Waymo was six years ago, and while Waymo has launched a simple ride-hailing network, it still has safety drivers along for the ride most of the time. For Tesla to reach that level in such a short time would be a remarkable achievement.”
Is Musk Hiding from More Pressing Issues?
Tesla’s inventory cratered earlier in April after the corporate reported its biggest-ever sales drop. Tesla delivered simply 63,000 automobiles through the first quarter, a sequential drop of 31%.
Elon Musk’s ongoing feud with the SEC has turned out to be one other headwind for Tesla’s inventory. Shareholders have lost money and have filed lawsuits towards the corporate.
In the midst of all this negativity, Elon Musk might be attempting to deliver some cheer by flaunting Tesla’s self-driving expertise, which is flawed in any case. Tesla bulls shouldn’t take the claims made within the MIT interview at face worth. Elon Musk said in 2015 that he’ll ship self-driving automobiles in two years.
We are far past that deadline and it gained’t be stunning to see Musk miss the subsequent one as nicely.