When will we have self-driving cars? That’s difficult to say for sure, but Elon Musk’s latest tweet, gives us a timeline to base our expectations upon.
Responding to a post from George Hotz who runs Comma, also in the autonomous vehicle game, Musk confirmed that he is confident that we’ll see Tesla vehicles driving (using FSD) at a level that is far safer than humans by the end of 2021.
Musk provided the caveat around regulation, which is the great unknown. Armed with a fist full of evidence to provide that Tesla vehicles are safer than humans should present an incredibly compelling case, but those creating legislation don’t always follow logic.
As for the $10K bet that we’ll reach full level 5 autonomy, where the driver is not responsible for the car, Musk decided to leave that well alone.
Hutz has since replied to Elon’s post, saying he’ll buy a Model 3 with FSD. It makes lots of sense for a company working on autonomous driving, to keep an eye on the competition. When that competition is the market leader, that makes even more sense.
As we know from commitments in the past, Autonomy was originally planned to be delivered in 2019, then 2020, now 2021. With a staggered rollout around the world, its likely many parts of the world will not see this until 2022.
The rollout and expansion of the FSD beta program will be very telling in terms of how far along Tesla is with the autonomous technology. If we see additional locations added in the next month or two, that’ll be promising, but if it’s 6-8 months before that occurs and we see early access program participants get it, I’d start to be concerned about the 2021 target for mainstream availability.
For cars to reach the SAE level 5 of autonomy, the cars also have to park themselves, something no Tesla does today. That’s not to say Tesla won’t be able to, but it simply hasn’t been a focus area (like Smart Summon), to date.
Being at level 5, where the driver is no longer responsible for the vehicle, would also mean Tesla assumes the liability in the event of an accident (caused by the car).
It’s an interesting road ahead and if the car can by many times safer than humans, then I say legislators should run, not walk to approving it, once they see the data that proves this to be the case.
This timeline for delivery for FSD is something of keen interest to many Tesla owners who have paid as much as A$10,100 on the promise that the cars will drive themselves.
Once FSD is complete, Tesla will also launch its Robotaxi network discussed at Autonomy Day in 2019. This will allow Tesla owners with the FSD package to enrol their car in the fleet. When the owner is not using the vehicle, it would accept ridesharing jobs like an Uber or Lyft, but minus the driver. Tesla would take their cut 20-30%, and you as the owner would get to make income from the car working on your behalf.