Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX has performed it again; he has made a bold prediction for his technology and matched it with another extremely difficult deadline.
Previously, he’s assured electric cars for everybody and even trips to Mars and established a distinction for delivering those fantastic things, although far behind schedule.
Now, Musk is promising by the end of 2017; he’ll provide a Tesla that can drive itself from Los Angeles to New York City, no human interaction required. The automaker released a video of its Model X SUV, offering the new hardware and prototype software, driving about Palo Alto. It looks awesome; however, it’s no proof of the theory.
“An unedited sequence of the vehicle steering around downtown San Francisco would be more significant to recognize what the vehicle can do,” says Raj Rajkumar, who manages autonomous driving research at Carnegie Mellon University.
Let’s assume the car’s as intelligent as the video makes it appear. Could it drive itself across the country? “If we’re staring at another year of improvement, I guess we may see something like that happen,” states Jeffrey Miller, an IEEE member who researches autonomous driving at the University of Southern California.
Rajkumar leads to Google, which, after nine years of effort on this project, still unable to provide a timeline for its rollout. “Mastery of self-driving supporting real-world situations is not going to be simple,” he says.
That deadline sets him years ahead of every other major player striving on entirely autonomous cars. Ford is proposing for 2021, China’s Baidu for 2019. Google hasn’t provided a hard date, but 2021 is a possibility. Likewise, goes for GM. They’re discussing cars that will stay in confined areas—nothing that can cross the country.
So, what are the odds Musk can make this happen? Tesla’s website presents a checkbox for “Full Self-Driving Capability,” insisting, “all you will require to do is get in and order your car where to go.” Except the cars won’t do that, at least not for some time.
Musk isn’t distributing the required software. These earliest cars won’t even have first generation Autopilot, Tesla’s system that maintains the vehicle in its lane and a secure distance from other vehicles on the highway.
One has to weigh Musk’s track record of missing his own deadlines. Tesla products that have fumbled their original due dates include the Roadster, Model S, Model X, Model 3, and Autopilot.
So, basically everything.
Its probable Musk will meet this deadline, but his track record speaks otherwise.