In new comments, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that software will shape the future of the automotive industry and added that he believes Chinese automakers are most competitive with Tesla on that front.
Musk made a pre-recorded appearance at the 2021 World New Energy Vehicle Congress in Hainan, China.
For those used to hearing Musk talk during his usual unrehearsed presentations at Tesla events, this is a sharp contrast as he appears to be reading prepared answers to questions he was sent ahead of time.
It sounds like an early version of Tesla Bot is filling in for him.
Here’s the full video of Musk’s answers to the questions from China’s 2021 World New Energy Vehicle Congress (hat tip to @JayinShanghai):
Musk commented on Tesla’s focus to accelerate electric vehicle production in China while reducing the cost to address the strong demand in the market, which is the largest auto market in the world.
The CEO also commented on the competition in China and how he believes they are leading in software:
“I have a great deal of respect for the many Chinese automakers for driving these technologies. My frank observation is that Chinese automobile companies are the most competitive in the world, especially because some are very good at software.”
Musk added that he believes “software will most shape the future of the automobile industry,” especially when it comes to autonomous driving software.
It’s true that several Chinese EV startups, like Nio and Xpeng, have put a lot of focus on software.
However, Tesla has had a problem with the latter, which it accused of stealing its Autopilot software.
Musk also briefly discussed the issue of data security when it comes to autonomous driving:
“Data security is not only the responsibility of a single company but also the cornerstone of the whole industry development. Tesla will work with national authorities in all countries to ensure data security of intelligent and connected vehicles. Tesla hopes to contribute to both a digitized future of shared benefits, responsibilities, and governance. With the rapid growth of autonomous driving technologies, data security of vehicles is drawing more public concerns than ever before. We figure it is necessary to address public concerns by applying appropriate technical measures.”
Earlier this year, we reported on Tesla facing some challenges in China regarding data privacy, especially when it came to data collection from the cameras in its vehicles.
The People’s Liberation Army, China’s military, issued a notice banning Tesla owners from parking their vehicles on bases and in housing complexes.
The concerns appeared to be related to Tesla’s use of cameras all around its vehicles and where the data is going.
Musk even commented on the story by stating the obvious: “Tesla is not using its vehicles’ cameras to spy on China,” but it didn’t seem to alleviate the concerns as even more government entities reportedly told employees not to park their Tesla vehicles on government property.
Following those situations, Tesla announced that it will store all data collected in China locally.
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