Credit: Emmet Peppers/Twitter
Tesla boss Elon Musk says there will be one million drivers using the EV maker’s autonomous driving software by the end of 2022.
Talking in an interview at the All-In Conference in Florida on Monday (US time), Musk said Tesla will probably be “expanding FSD (Full Self-Driving) Beta to 1 million users by end of the year.”
Elon: “[probably] expanding FSD Beta to 1 million users by end of the year”$TSLA
— Emmet Peppers (@EmmetPeppers) May 16, 2022
Sound familiar? It should do, because Elon Musk has made similar claims before.
As The Driven reported in 2019, Musk said he thought the final steps needed for autonomous driving to work (supervised) would be completed by the end of 2019. Then, he thought fully functional self-driving would be operational (in the US at least) by the end of 2020.
At least, it would be in practice, if not approved by regulators. At Tesla’s earnings call in October 2019, Musk said it would be “reliable enough that you do not need to pay attention in our opinion.”
It turns out that autonomous driving is a little more complex than previously thought, however.
Tesla underwent a massive rewrite of its labelling systems after it began reaching “local maximums” (wherein software hits a ceiling of improvements) in 2021.
It also did away with radar, and has been striving to achieve “4D” vision. By this, it means the software can predict the location of objects when they are not visible (time being the fourth dimension).
In short, Musk is known for making statements based on what he believes are probable outcomes. Whether Tesla will actually achieve this latest goal is another thing entirely.
Self-driving beta program
Currently, Tesla has about 100,000 drivers on the Tesla FSD beta program. Most of these drivers are in the US and there are a small number in Canada.
According to this record of Tesla sales in the US, there are now approximately 1.4 million Tesla cars on the road in the US, and not all of these will have the hardware required for FSD.
But Tesla is within reach of selling another 900,000 in the US by the end of 2022 (chip shortages not withstanding).
By then, the majority of Tesla cars in the US would theoretically be able to run FSD. Whether or not the owners of those vehicles will buy the FSD upgrade, however, is an entirely different matter.
Self-driving Tesla Robotaxi
That Musk is referring to a “wide release” of the Full Self-Driving beta software is likely. In April, at the company’s Q1 2022 warnings call he did say that Tesla expects to “broaden (the self-driving beta program) significantly this year.”
Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Musk still has big plans for Tesla’s self-driving program. The entrepreneur said in January that he believes eventually, robotaxis will be cheaper than bus tickets.
Announcing Tesla would eventually develop a separate Robotaxi EV, he said the value of FSD is in increasing utilisation of cars by a factor of five.
“Everything pales in comparison to the value of a robotaxi or full self-driving,” said Musk.