Tesla is being a little more cautious about its Full Self-Driving timeline with regulators than with the public, according to a newly released memo from a meeting between Tesla and the California DMV.
Earlier this year, Plainsite, a website that focuses on making legal documents public through freedom of information requests, but whose founder is also a known Tesla detractor who is suing Elon Musk, released emails between the California DMV and Tesla that went viral in the media.
The emails were about the release of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta, and they confused the media for being more cautious about describing the features in the FSD package to the regulators.
Now it’s happening again.
This time, Plainsite released a memo of notes from a meeting last month between Tesla and the CA DMV in which Tesla was more careful about its Full Self-Driving timeline than in Elon Musk’s public comments.
In the notes, the DMV writes that it asked CJ Moore, Tesla’s director of autopilot software, to address Musk’s comments about Tesla achieving level 5 full self-driving by the end of the year:
“DMV asked CJ to address, from an engineering perspective, Elon’s messaging about L5 capability by the end of the year.”
The DMV summarized Moore’s response:
“Tesla is at Level 2 currently. The ratio of driver interaction would need to be in the magnitude of 1 or 2 million miles per driver interaction to move into higher levels of automation. Tesla indicated that Elon is extrapolating on the rates of improvement when speaking about L5 capabilities. Tesla couldn’t say if the rate of improvement would make it to L5 by end of calendar year.”
The media ran with the comment that Tesla couldn’t confirm that the rate of improvement shows that they can reach level 5 by the end of the year.
Here’s the full memo from the DMV about the Tesla meeting:
I feel like it is very similar to the last communications between Tesla and the DMV that were released by Plainsite.
The issue is being overblown.
Obviously, Tesla’s engineers are going to be more careful about their communications with regulators than Elon’s tweets.
I am not saying that’s a good thing, but it is obvious.
There are several people who want to claim that this is fraudulent.
Personally, I don’t think it means Elon is trying to defraud anyone. I think it’s more likely that he indeed believes in those full self-driving timelines, but Tesla just can’t meet them.
He has been wrong a few times about it before, and everyone should take his latest timelines with a grain of salt, but it doesn’t mean it’s fraud.
What I found most interesting about the memo is that Tesla appears to have a goal of 1 or 2 million miles per driver interaction before moving into higher levels of automation.
That’s an interesting goal.
Once FSD beta has its wider release, I hope Tesla starts updating us on that metric.
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