Elon Musk now says that he is “extremely confident” that Tesla will release full autonomy to customers in “some jurisdictions” in 2021.
However, we have seen that timeline slip in the past.
Musk has long been making predictions about when Tesla will achieve full self-driving capability.
His most famous prediction is that Tesla will have 1 million robotaxis by the end of 2020.
Of course, that is not happening, but with the recent release of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Beta software update, the CEO’s predictions for the release of an actual fully autonomous driving system are gaining in credibility.
Yesterday, Musk received an Axel Springer Award in Germany, and during an interview with CEO Mathias Döpfner, he was asked when Tesla can deliver full autonomy.
Tesla’s CEO answered:
To actually answer your question, I am extremely confident of achieving full autonomy and releasing it to the Tesla customer base next year.
Now Musk clarified that this is the simple answer and the regulatory landscape is more complicated.
However, the CEO did say of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving system:
But I think at least some jurisdictions are going to allow full self-driving next year.
Musk didn’t specify where he thinks it will be approved first, but he did mention that European regulators were generally more conservative.
Some jurisdictions have already put in place frameworks for autonomous driving systems to be approved in commercial uses, and companies like GM’s Cruise in California and Alphabet’s Waymo in Arizona are already going through the process.
Tesla’ CEO reitirated that they are going to have to accumulate billions of kilometers of autonomous driving in order to show regulators that their autonomous driving system is safe.
Elon’s full self-driving predictions have become somewhat of a running joke in the Tesla community, but I think we can start to take them more seriously now that the FSD beta is getting into the hands of more customers.
I think it is starting to look more credible, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.
During the interview, Elon mentioned Tesla’s Autopilot safety data showing that Autopilot is a lot safer than human driving, but we know that this data is extremely flawed due to the nature of when Autopilot is being activated and deactivated.
It’s a bit worrying to me that he would reference that data in the context of the data needed to convince regulators of full self-driving, which I think is going to have to be very different to have any weight with regulators.
We are going to have to see a more detailed look at disengagement events and things of the sort — something that Tesla has been staying away from reporting in the past.
I expect some transparency in that process, so we should be able to get the data at some point when Tesla starts the approval process, which is now apparently going to be next year.
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