Following the Tesla Model 3 unveil in March, CEO Elon Musk said that a “part 2” unveiling event will follow “closer to production”, which is set to start in late 2017. He added that he expects the features that will be revealed at the event will significantly increase the number of reservations Tesla receives for the vehicle – the tally currently stands at close to 400,000 pre-orders.
Fully autonomous driving is expected to be the main new feature to be announced at the event and now Musk did everything but confirm it during a conference yesterday.
Elon Musk gave a talk at the Code Conference yesterday (see video below) and when asked directly if the Model 3 will be autonomous, Musk looked like he was about to give a direct answer, but afer a few seconds of hesitation he said that there will be another big event “maybe toward the end of the year” during which he will talk in more details on the subject.
He then added that it will be “really big news” when he starts talking about it and that Tesla will do the “obvious thing”.
The obvious thing is fully autonomous driving. It’s what everyone has been talking about since Tesla unveiled the Model 3 prototype without any instrument cluster, and it’s also what they were talking about when Musk referred to it.
Musk’s latest prediction for when the fully autonomous level 4 technology will be ready (regardless of government regulations) actually falls right in Q4 2017 or when the Model 3 is expected to hit the market – he said “in about 2 years” back in December 2015.
Tesla’s CEO doesn’t know exactly how long the regulatory process will take, but he is confident the data should convince them, especially since the early data from the first generation Autopilot is encouraging.
During the talk today, he reiterated his prediction, which is still in line with the previous timeline, and added a comment about regulatory approval:
“I think we are less than two years away from complete autonomy – safer than humans – regulations should take at least another year.”
When it comes to autonomous or semi-autonomous features under its Autopilot program, Tesla has introduced the hardware long before enabling the features via over-the-air software updates so it’s not impossible that the Model 3 will have all the necessary fully autonomous hardware when it hits production in “less than 2 years” and then Tesla can activate the features gradually – as they become safe and legal.
Here’s the video of the talk:
And then the Q&A