Lux Research: “Tesla’s Autonomous Car Claims More Hype Than Reality”

NOV 11 2014 BY MARK KANE 41

Four System, Including Forward Looking Radar And Sonar Assist In Tesla's New "Auto Pilot"

Four System, Including Forward Looking Radar And Sonar Assist In Tesla’s New “Auto Pilot”

An interesting article was published on Lux Populi – The Lux Research Analyst Blog on Tesla’s Autopilot entitled “Tesla’s Autonomous Car Claims More Hype Than Reality“.

The Lux Research team seems to stand in opposition to Elon Musk’s claims and is questioning Tesla Motors’ leadership in this autonomous-drive area.

The first point put forth by Lux is on driver assist systems that were introduced by 19 other automakers:

“If Elon Musk’s comments seems far-fetched and vague, it’s because they are. In its latest release, Tesla has effectively caught up with competing car companies, but certainly hasn’t passed them. Manufacturers like Daimler, Audi, BMW, and Ford, alongside many others, are all incorporating advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) into their cars. Tesla’s new release highlights two major ADAS features: automatic lane change and the ability for the car to read speed-limit signs and adjust speed accordingly. While an advancement for Tesla, neither feature is all that new – in 2013, there were 19 automakers with adaptive cruise control systems on the market, most of which offer the ability to read and react to speed limit signs, and others have automatic lane-change prototypes on the road.”

Autopilot Functionality Now On Model S

Autopilot Functionality Now On Model S

The second point is on firmware and Tesla’s ability to update/activate these systems over the air::

“Claims that autonomy for Tesla’s cars will be a simple matter of firmware and software updates are unrealistic. The 12 sensors that Tesla has installed onto its new car are a mix of cameras, radar, and ultrasonic sensors. While we don’t doubt that all of these sensors will be important in the progression towards autonomy, we disagree with the view that the hardware to enable autonomy is already fixed and that future cars will only require software upgrades to become autonomous. Google has been testing its autonomous vehicle, outfitted with significantly more sensors than Tesla’s, and they continue to struggle in poor visibility weather conditions. We agree that advances in machine vision, and subsequent software updates will add a lot of capability to ADAS features; however, the hardware is far from fixed. Tesla may soon find that as vision algorithms improve they will require dedicated processors like CogniVue’s (client registration required) to efficiently run the required computation in real-time. Furthermore, by fixing its hardware and relying on future software and firmware updates Tesla may miss out on emerging imaging solutions like Fastree3d‘s (client registration required) imagers that can offer advances in terms of speed, accuracy, and cost over currently used sensors.”

And there is a pessimistic ending that concludes by stating that we will not see truly autonomous cars anytime soon as the technology must mature. Lux Research didn’t even mention that laws restrict autonomous driving in most states.

“Even if the technology to make a fully autonomous car is available in the next five to six years, as Elon suggests, it will be many years of prototyping and testing before that technology hits the road in commercially available vehicles. The first adaptive cruise-control-equipped vehicles came onto the market in 1995, and it’s taken the technology nearly 10 years to reach its currently limited market share. If a prototype of a fully autonomous vehicle is possible in five years, it will be at least another decade after that before buyers start enjoying hands-off driving.

Given the bold claims, it is likely that in 2015 Tesla will be backpedaling from its CEO’s comments. Perhaps Tesla has a partnership in the works and its ADAS features are being developed by outside developers, but nonetheless, Tesla has notoriously been delayed in product deployments. Still, marketing and PR are a true strength of Tesla, and conversations in our automotive network indicate frustration that Tesla is viewed as so advanced while in reality numerous OEMS have technologies equal to or more advanced than what Tesla is claiming. Clients should expect Tesla to continue to drive the conversation, but expect the rapid innovation in ADAS and autonomous vehicles to progress quickly – and much of it outside of Tesla’s walls.”

So, Lux certainly isn’t supportive of Tesla Motors and really doesn’t see autonomous driving in our near future.

Source: Lux Populi – The Lux Research Analyst Blog

Categories: Tesla

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41 Comments on "Lux Research: “Tesla’s Autonomous Car Claims More Hype Than Reality”"

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So many are so skeptikal of the countrys only decent car maker. Are they perfect? F()ck no, are they better than ford, GM, Chrysler? I say so.

“… in 2013, there were 19 automakers with adaptive cruise control systems on the market, most of which offer the ability to read and react to speed limit signs, and others have automatic lane-change prototypes on the road.”
Yes all mid-to-lux cars have adaptive cruise, but who has systems that REACTS to speed limit signs?
And all have lane-change warning, but who has auto-lane-change (in production cars)?

I didn’t see Lux mention that the Model S will find and meet its owner at a pre-arranged time, on private property… What other vehicles do this now?

Tesla’s Driver Assist, already exists. The R&D they’ve done, is well beyond this initial public version and will only improve with time as it gets validated and approved for release.

This was Audi in 2013:

Close enough?

Read the YouTube description. That doesn’t even look like it uses image recognition. It needs lasers in the parking spot to help guide it, and uses WiFi to track position.

What I think will be really cool is precise positioning so that it can plug itself in, possibly from a pad on the bottom. Faster and less expensive than wireless and no losses either.

No, not really…

Audi showed this in practice at CES 2014. If you watch the demo (from CES) the speaker lady says Audi has been working with this for about a year and that it will be production ready within 5 years…

If Tesla gets this to market with the P85D by December 2014 that is leap frogging! 🙂

Audi Autonomous Car Parking CES 2014:

Listen from 06:40…

Go Tesla, go Tesla!!!

Last year MB had a S500 drive 60 miles on public roads during the day from Mannheim to Pforzheim. Half a dozen other companies could do the same.

You won’t see these on the roads because they’re many unresolved legal issues.

FYI the speed limits are more easily done with digital maps. My car shows me the speed limits now. It even works with different speeds when schools are in or out of session. This is one reason BTW why signs aren’t so great.

Not to mention, it enables a very dangerous prank. Just place a 75 MPH sign on a slow road, ahead of a curve, or put a stop sign on a highway. Humans would look at the context and ignore these. Machines might not.

Actually I thought that was mentioned in Tesla videos that it would need to have checks and balances for all that. ie. confirm reasonable speed read vs gps info vs previous speed zone, etc, etc.

Yeah, speed zones change over time. Maybe there needs to be a registered speed zone database that public entities are required to use. School zones should be fairly easy to account for. Spray painted, knocked down, partially obscured by vegetation, etc not so much.

I drove around in an XTS that had it last week.

Just saying the obvious. Anyone who thinks/thought that Tesla isn’t doing anything but play catch-up is/was simply uninformed.

Au contraire.

There’s no doubt that Tesla had a lot of catching up to do.

But the Lux report is giving too much credit to other systems. None of them read signs for speed limits. They use GPS position to look up speed in a database. There’s only a couple steering assist systems out there that actually take control of the steering for significant turns. MB’s system is the most advanced, and judging from videos it has flaws.

Cars that can read traffic signs have been around for years:

I didn’t know about that, but that’s because it only works in Europe with colored round signs.

Seems like only BMW has it the US, and it’s not very good. Of course, we’ll have to see how good it is in the Tesla.

See DanCar’s comment below.

“Tesla is using Mobileye software like others.”

BMW i3’s read speed signs.

Tesla is playing catch up. Doing these things for one car is difficult, but feasible.

Doing these things reliably enough for a production vehicle to use on 1,000,000 cars and unpredictable scenarios is something entirely different.

Alberto Zaragoza Comendador

Autopilot is battery swap 2.0: Tesla will promise it’s coming “soon” for a couple years and hope everybody forgets Elon’s retarded comments.

You’ve been had…again.

To be fair a tiny slice of Autopilot (lane-keeping and speed assist) is real, so in that sense it’s not like battery swap which was a completely imaginary feature. And a couple more features may show up through software updates, though I guarantee you they will be things other carmakers have had for years (and years).

Still, things likeautomatic lane change, summoning the car to your driveway and such are fake. Fantasy. Imaginary. Made up. If you want to bet, drop a comment or email me (address in the URL). I bet neither automatic lane change nor “summoning” will show up in 2015.


I think you confuse “not publicly available right-this-minute”, with “fake”.

As for battery swap, look for an announcement in December…

Alberto Zaragoza Comendador

I don’t get the “scam”. I mean if you call battery-swap is a scam, so is CARB. How many credits are hydrogen cars worth? How likely is hydrogen to be a meaningful fuel in California in the next 3 decades?

Poking around your blog, I’m not sure what analysis you’re trying to prove. A Honda civic gas car has a better return on investment than a tesla. Living in Ohio is less expensive than California … the tesla doesn’t have to be better than a civic … or even a leaf. people buy cars for reasons that go beyond kWh/Mile or total cost of ownership, etc.

Alberto Zaragoza Comendador

Btw, Hyundai and Kia got a huge fine for overstating fuel efficiency. But apparently Tesla can get away with fantasy features.

I was reading something on autoblog about FCVs earlier today that mentioned Tesla wasn’t receiving those credits anymore from CARB. not until the infrastructure for battery swaps is real atleast.

You think failing to deliver battery swapping is comparable to lying about a car’s $20k+ lifetime fuel costs? Show me where battery-swapping is listed anywhere here:

It was a tech demo. Few people will use it anyway, because supercharging is fast enough and free. Was it a ZEV grab? Sure, but every automaker was free to grab those credits. The flaws are CARB’s fault.

How much money are you making from your joke of a website almost entirely dedicated to talking sh** about Tesla/Musk? Half it is just stupid.

I just wish all car-makers would standardize the the technology that automatically stops the car before it runs into something.

That alone would save so many lives & damage.

Isn’t is pretty standardized already? It seems that all car models auto braking works pretty much the same and with basically the same equipment.

I can’t tell much difference between my friends and relatives auto braking systems in their cars at least 🙂

I guess neither your friends nor family own a Volvo. 😀

Maybe we should all cool the jets.. As much as they are great features, I still enjoy driving, and is therefore not too hung up on what the car does on its own, nor who states or over states the automnous driving ability of a car, when we should all know what it comes down to…. Does it feel right or not when you’re behind the wheel??? I believe the MS is a great car, I don’t know for sure as I have never driven one, but I do drive a GTR and an A6 estate, and I love both of them for different reasons, but I’d never trust them to pick me up on time nor park themselves…… If you can’t park a car, you probably shouldn’t be driving in the first place….. Perspective people!!!! Please…

Ahh, where’s the story here?? I don’t see one. The article speaks to autonomous driving, but Musk confined autopilot. Two completely different applications. So this is just an attention seeking story since Musk also confirmed that autonomous driving was years away.
Lux Research needs to get real. Don’t feed the troll !!

Has Lux written a single positive article on Tesla? I don’t recall one.

It does lead one to suspect “Lux Research” is funded by people who are short-selling TSLA (Tesla Motors stock). There is no “there there” in Lux bashing Tesla Motors. It’s pretty desperate for Lux to claim that automatic lane changing isn’t really an advancement just because some other companies have made prototypes with that capability. The point is that Telsa is the first auto maker to actually put that into production. Likewise, it seems rather unlikely that Tesla will wait 10 years after a practical self-driving car is developed before they put that system into production. This is the advantage of having a new, small company: It can be agile enough to put new tech into production much more quickly than larger, “legacy” auto makers. Furthermore, Musk did not claim the new driver assist features are sufficient for a self-driving car. What he claimed was that it was good enough for 90% autopilot driving on a freeway. Now, it is true that Tesla is playing catch-up. It has been said that every other luxury sedan already had driver assist features that the Model S lacked. But Tesla Motors hasn’t merely caught up; it has dashed to the head of the… Read more »

Did they really promise anything? Seemed more like a tech demo and they said you still had to drive the car and most of the stuff could not be used on public roads.

Thanks for the insight.

This analyst is way off base. He did not pay attention to what Elon actually said. Elon actually said the same things the analyst is saying – Fully Autonomous vehicles are 10 plus years out. Autopilot is not Autonomous.

After reading all this crap I was eager to point out the very same thing… Just one more post above mentioned this also…

Musk was VERY specific with the words autopilot and autonomous in all interviews, still the article resolves to these cheep shots arguing against autonomous driving… I must stop reading things on the Internet, there are too many stupid people!

Yeah car companies has been around for 100 years average and now they are scare of the new boy on the game, of course auto-pilot is nothing new but as a whole the Tesla is and the rest of the car industry but “Leaf, i3 and Volt”