Dead Bugs Are Getting in the Way of Fully Autonomous Self-Driving Cars
On October 19, 2016, Elon Musk kicked off the lie about Tesla Full Self-Driving capabilities: “The basic news is that all Tesla vehicles exiting the factory have the hardware necessary for Level 5 autonomy. So that in terms of the cameras and compute power, it’s every car we make. So, on the order of 2,000 cars a week are shipping now with Level 5, meaning hardware capable of a full self-driving or driverless capability.”
Don’t get me wrong—I am not among those in the $TSLAQ community on Twitter who believe that everything Musk touches is a massive fraud. While there is much about the accounting around his businesses that is highly questionable and very possibly fraudulent, I think Musk is a true believer in most of the ideas he has brought forth, regardless of how outlandish many seem.
But the idea that all Teslas built in the past four years have the hardware necessary to achieve Level 5 (L5) automated driving capability was and is a lie, and for some very mundane reasons.
We Need to Pump the Brakes on Driverless Cars
We’re nowhere near proving that automated driving technology is safer than human drivers
Just a week after Musk made the above pronouncement, I took to a stage in San Francisco, where I was chairing a conference on automated vehicles. George Hotz of Comma.ai had been scheduled to deliver a keynote that morning. I was checking my notifications as I walked into the event venue and saw the headline that Hotz’s Comma One project had been canceled after the company opted not to respond to an inquiry from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asking for more information about it.
Needless to say, Hotz did not appear, so I quickly modified a presentation deck on the state of automated driving development and took his place. In the course of my talk, I asked the audience of about 150 people how many thought that Musk could make good on his L5…