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Elon Musk says Tesla’s next vehicle will operate ‘almost entirely in autonomous mode’

Elon Musk commented on Tesla’s next car, saying that it will operate “almost entirely in autonomous mode,” but the automaker has yet to deliver on its promise to make all its cars made since 2016 autonomous.

While Tesla unveiled its plan to build a new vehicle platform that will be more efficient to manufacture at its Investor Day last week, many were disappointed that Tesla didn’t go into details about the vehicle models that will be based on this new platform.

During a brief appearance at a Morgan Stanley conference today, CEO Elon Musk briefly commented that the vehicles to be built on Tesla’s next-gen platform will operate “almost entirely in autonomous mode.”

He made it sound like humans will only rarely have to be behind the wheel of the vehicle.

That’s in line with what he previously said about Tesla planning to bring a new purposed-built “robotaxi” electric vehicle to production.

But the idea of Tesla working on a new vehicle built especially to be used “almost entirely in autonomous mode” is worrying some people.

Musk has been promising that Tesla is going to make all its vehicles built since 2016 “full self-driving” through software updates. The CEO went as far as mentioning “level 5 SEA self-driving.” Some Tesla buyers paid between $5,000 and $15,000, thinking that the automaker would eventually deliver on that promise.

However, Tesla has so far only delivered “Full Self-Driving Beta” (FSD Beta), which is still a level 2 driver assist system as per the automaker’s own admission.

The FSD Beta program has also been stagnant for months with little to no significant updates for the vast majority of people in the program.

The company claims that it still plans to deliver on that promise, but some owners are starting to have doubts as Tesla moves to build purpose-built autonomous vehicles, like the “robotaxi,” and introduces a new Autopilot Self-Driving hardware suite on new vehicles that it won’t offer retrofits for.

Electrek’s Take

Top comment by Jacob M

Liked by 73 people

The amount of money Elon and Tesla have fleeced from consumers on the promise of FSD is breathtaking. Just call it what it is...advanced cruise control. Let consumers decide if it's worth paying a premium for the feature. The fact that HW4 won't be backwards-compatible with prior systems should be enough evidence that no current Tesla has what it takes to be fully autonomous.

View all comments

On its own, one doesn’t mean that the other doesn’t make sense, but it is indeed worrying amid the state of the FSD program.

Despite what Musk and the biggest FSD cheerleaders are saying about FSD Beta, it’s hard to see a clear path to it ever achieving level 5 or even level 4.

The good news for Tesla is that I can see the company applying what they learn from the FSD program to build a great purpose-built self-driving vehicle, like the robotaxi, but what does it mean for the millions of Tesla owners who bought cars since 2016 thinking that they would eventually become self-driving?

I see lawsuits coming. Lots of them.

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