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Tesla’s Autopilot system has been exaggerated by Elon Musk, the company has admitted in a new memo.
Back in February during an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Musk said, ‘I think Autopilot’s getting good enough that you won’t need to drive most of the time unless you really want to.’
Tesla’s self-driving functions have attracted quite a bit of publicity, not always for the best reasons; for example, two men died in a crash after trying it out in their Model S. Amid renewed scrutiny in the wake of their deaths, Musk has been overstating Autopilot’s capabilities.
In a memo released by legal transparency group PlainSite, Eric C. Williams, Tesla’s director of Autopilot software, discussed Musk’s messaging with the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
Back in January, Musk said he believed Tesla would reach level five autonomy – where the car can control itself in any situation – by the end of the year.
However, the memo reads, ‘Elon’s tweet does not match engineering reality per CJ. Tesla is at level two currently. The ratio of driver interaction would need to be in the magnitude of one or two million miles per driver interaction to move into higher levels of automation.’
It adds, ‘Tesla indicated that Elon is extrapolating on the rates of improvement when speaking about level five capabilities. Tesla couldn’t say if the rate of improvement would make it to level five by end of calendar year.’
This isn’t the first time Musk has stretched the truth. Two years ago, Tesla managed to raise around $2 billion after the CEO predicted ‘more than one million robotaxis’ would be on the road. So far, that claim has failed to come to fruition.
The memo adds, ‘As Tesla is aware, the public’s misunderstanding about the limits of the technology and its misuse can have tragic consequences.’
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