Tesla’s autonomy program, known as Full Self Driving, is about to miss another deadline. Expectations of FSD delivery are high, in large part thanks to Elon Musk’s self-imposed timelines.
The conversation right now is all about the latest software update (020.48.26) that delivers some nice UI changes, but mostly around a new feature called Boombox for those Tesla’s which have the external pedestrian speaker.
In just 4 days, we’ll reach the end of 2020, significant because another year has passed, without Tesla delivering on their FSD promises. To be fair, replacing a human driver with a computer is a monumental task, with many of us imagining a 5 to 10 year timeframe. Those predictions were radically recalibrated when Musk claimed they’d have the tech ready in 2018, then 2019 and now 2020 its still not here.
From the videos shared by those in the FSD beta program, we can see improvements in the car’s ability to navigate unmarked roads and turn on city streets, even accommodating roundabouts and parked cars. Despite this progress, the to-do-list remains long before this could be considered level 4 or 5 autonomy, according to SAE levels.
While nobody likes overpromising and under-delivering, the reason these promises are so important, is that thousands of Tesla owners have paid Tesla as much as $10,100 for the feature that still isn’t available.
Let’s take a second to reflect on the times Musk has set timelines for Tesla to deliver FSD.
When you purchase a Tesla, you’ll see a list of what the FSD package offers, with the ability to tick the box, pay some money (during purchase or after) and have the software features unlocked.
Last year the website listed under the heading ‘Coming later this year’, these 2 important items.
- Recognise and respond to traffic lights and stop signs.
- Automatic driving on city streets.
The first of these has now shipped (in 2020), however in some markets (Aus included), it is still necessary to confirm through a green light when there’s no follow vehicle.
The second of these still not delivered and the website has been updated to now list ‘Automatic driving on city streets’ under the heading of ‘Upcoming’.
April 23rd, 2019 – Tesla Autonomy Day
Back in April last year, Tesla held their Autonomy Day for investors, to explain the trajectory the company was on, to deliver FSD and ultimately a Robotaxi fleet.
During the presentation, Musk showed a slide titled ‘Master Plan’ that listed ‘Feature complete self-driving’ next to 2019