Report: Elon Musk might have been exaggerating Tesla’s full self-driving capabilities

‘Extrapolating’
by Drei Laurel | May 11, 2021
PHOTO: Jamie Lipman

It appears Elon Musk might have gotten a little carried away hyping up Tesla’s full self-driving capabilities earlier this year.

According to a recent report by Reuters, Tesla privately admitted to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that, contrary to Musk’s claims, the electric car manufacturer might not reach full self-driving capabilities by the end of 2021.

“Elon's tweet does not match engineering reality per CJ,” a memo on a conference call with the car brand released by legal transparency group PlainSite reads. The ‘CJ’ referred to being Tesla representative CJ Moore.

“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,” the memo continues, adding that Musk was supposedly “extrapolating on the rates of improvement” in his claims.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a human must still “pay full attention” to a self-driving car’s operation and environment at all times. Level 5 self-driving cars, on the other hand, will essentially operate themselves, treating human occupants as just passengers.

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The memo goes on to say that “Tesla indicated that they are still firmly in L2” and that the company will know ahead of a potential release when its cars are ready for level 3 self-driving capabilities. You can read the memo in its entirety on the official PlainSite website here.

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By the sound of it, it’s still going to be a while before Teslas are out and about truly driving themselves. No doubt this revelation will throw a wrench into the gears of Musk’s autonomous hype train. But hey, Saturday Night Live hosting gig—at least he has that going for him at the moment, right? When do you think cars will truly be able to drive themselves?

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PHOTO: Jamie Lipman
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