Elon Musk gave an update on his expected timeline for Tesla achieving Full Self-Driving capability, and he now says that he would be “shocked” if Tesla does not achieve “Full Self-Driving safer than human this year.”

We have heard that before.

Since back in 2018, Musk has been predicting that Tesla will solve “full self-driving” next year. The company made an early bet on hardware for self-driving, and it has since been promising that it can deliver the technology to millions of vehicles already on the road through software updates.

The CEO has updated the language around his predictions a few times.

For example, he previously talked about Tesla delivering a “feature complete” version of “full self-driving, which means that Tesla vehicles would have the capacity to attempt to drive by themselves on both local roads and highways with driver supervision at all times, but the capacity wouldn’t be good. In short, it can drive through intersections, but it often needs assistance from the driver with the goal that it gets better over time.

Tesla delivered that through its FSD Beta program in 2020, but it was a lot more limited than many people hoped and quite far from Musk’s original promise of Tesla having a million “robotaxis” on the road.

The automaker has made great progress since the release of FSD Beta, which is now being used by almost 60,000 Tesla owners in the US.

But despite this progress, it’s hard for many to imagine when it can lead to an actual (for real this time) full self-driving system or even if it can even happen at this point without Tesla needing a new approach with different hardware.

During Tesla’s Q4 2021 earnings call last week, the CEO updated his timeline for Tesla delivering full self-driving “safer than human” by saying that he would be “shocked” if it doesn’t happen this year:

“I would be shocked if we do not achieve Full Self-Driving safer than human this year. I would be shocked.”

Now he didn’t elaborate by what metric it would be considered “safer than human” or if that will be enough for Tesla to take responsibility for the system away from the driver, which is really the only thing that matters to consider a system self-driving.

Despite the lack of detail, the CEO was so confident that he added on Twitter this weekend that Tesla also plans on licensing its self-driving software to other automakers.

He believes that every other company developing self-driving technology is about five years behind Tesla.

Electrek’s Take

It’s hard to take these predictions seriously anymore, but based on Musk’s own standard, we should be.

When admitting to having missed a few self-driving timeline predictions, the CEO once said that you can at least track whether or not progress is being made by the fact that the predicted timelines are getting shorter and not longer.

It’s not “next year” anymore, but this year.

Now give us access to the data that shows some progress. The anecdotal data from beta testers is nice, but we need something more concrete.

During the call last week, Musk even mentioned that beta testers would see improvements if they were to “plot their beta interventions per mile.”

Why doesn’t Tesla collect and release this data for the whole beta fleet? That would be the best way to track progress.

It’s time for Tesla to do that if it wants any credibility about delivering on its goal for full self-driving.

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About the Author

Fred Lambert

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