Elon Musk: Transition From Autopilot To Some Self Driving Features To Occur In Less Than 6 Months

10 months ago by Eric Loveday 21

A self-driving Model X with new enhanced hardware was demonstrated by Tesla in October

A self-driving Model X with new enhanced hardware was demonstrated by Tesla in October

During the Elon Musk Tweet storm that include the announcement of Tesla moving forward with major revisions every 12 to 18 months, the CEO was questioned as to when we should expect to see Tesla vehicles move from Autopilot to Self-Driving capability.

We should note that even when the vehicles become Self-Driving capable, federal and state-level laws may prevent the vehicles from being operated without a “driver” behind the wheel.

Moving on…

Musk stated that we should expect to see new Self-Driving features be pushed through in as little as 3 months, but possibly as long as 6 months. Here are the relevant Q & A tweets:

Musk Tweets On Self Driving

Musk Tweets On Self Driving

According to Musk, even if regulations require a driver be present, the Self-Driving system will greatly improve overall safety and, as he’s stated in the past, will significantly reduce the likelihood of an accident.

We should point out that Musk’s 3-6 month timeline is much sooner than expected, but he does add the “definitely” disclaimer there after 6 months, so we’re holding him to this one.

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21 responses to "Elon Musk: Transition From Autopilot To Some Self Driving Features To Occur In Less Than 6 Months"

  1. Brian says:

    “he does add the “definitely” disclaimer there after 6 months, so we’re holding him to this one”

    And he has never missed any “definite” target yet, right? Hold him to it if you want, but 6 months from now, if he doesn’t make the goal, he’ll just distract us with another tweet.

  2. Gsned57 says:

    The way I read the question was when will autopilot 2 noticeably depart from the capabilities of autopilot 1? I don’t think Elon is saying what this article is implying.

    1. Another Brian says:

      Agree, “noticeably depart” is a soft target itself, to say the least. Elsewhere, Elon has admonished us to read his tweets carefully. If you do so, I think you’ll find that he has avoided specific commitments, but what he does say, can be relied on.

    2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      Just as the service writer’s job at a dealership is to oversell service, the headline writer’s job is to oversell articles.

      The headline writer can be somebody different to the writer of the article, so don’t jump on Eric for the deception.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Will add some further depth to title (…Some Self Driving Features) to make it more clear.

        No intention to misrepresent what Musk said, just attempting to keep the title under a zillion letters…but can see why it might have confused. Fixed, (=

        1. gsned57 says:

          I don’t pay a dime for the news and entertainment I get from this site daily so I certainly wasn’t trying to call anyone out. Just looking to get the conversation going on clarifying what Elon really meant. Thanks for the clarification and keep up the great work.

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          @Jay Cole:

          Thank you for clarifying the title. Much appreciated!

    3. unlucky says:

      Good point.

      He’s basically saying he believes their software will exceed MobilEye’s capabilities in six months.

      Presumably at that time (or perhaps a bit before) HW1 cars would be switched to use the same software as the HW2 cars.

      1. Roy_H says:

        Highly doubt that. Using software to try to make HW1 perform tricks only HW2 can do reliably is asking for trouble.

        1. unlucky says:

          That’s not what I meant.

          I mean just using the Tesla in-house software on the MobilEye hardware. This would allow them to unify feature sets where possible. It wouldn’t mean the hardware limitations could be exceeded.

          It also means less software effort at the company. Right now to update their Autopilot software means updating both the HW1 and HW2 codebases separately.

          If Tesla doesn’t unify the source bases, then it will mean they will completely cease to update the HW1 cars at an earlier date than they otherwise would. Once in-house solutions like HW2 are 90% of the cars they have ever sold and all of their recent customers, it becomes difficult to justify doing any work on those older cars AP software if it isn’t work that applies any benefit to newer cars.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Speaking as a programmer, the possibility that you could use the same software on completely different hardware platforms seems wholly unrealistic.

            1. unlucky says:

              What do you think Windows runs on? Just one piece of hardware?

              iOS 10 runs on the iPhone 5, 5s, 6, 6+, 6s, 6s+, 7, 5c, SE plus one type of iPod and 8 different iPads.

              You can use thousands of different mice on your computer and don’t need to buy a new version of Windows to do so.

              What makes you think they couldn’t use the same autopilot software with two different sets of camera inputs?

              1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                You might want to re-read my comment, which you were supposedly replying to. I did choose my words carefully, in specifying “completely different hardware”.

                You cited examples of a later version of the same hardware.

                “What do you think Windows runs on? Just one piece of hardware?”

                I don’t merely think; I know from personal experience that Windows has issues running on various computers from different vendors even when they are “clones” designed specifically to be Windows platforms. So thanks for supporting my argument, even though you intended otherwise.

                Of course, the “clone” situation is sharply different than the situation with Tesla switching from using Mobileye hardware to something completely different.

                So sorry if this concept is hard for you to understand, Unlucky. But I think most everyone else gets it.

                1. unlucky says:

                  No, I didn’t give examples of the same hardware. Different computers are different hardware. Different mice are different hardware.

                  What other people understand and you somehow can’t is that you can use the same software on different hardware if you use a system where you write drivers for the parts that differ but keep the rest the same.

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardware_abstraction

                  This is how Windows runs on both Dells and HPs. And there’s no reason Tesla can’t do it.

                  And you somehow ignored the iOS example. All those pieces of hardware are different hardware. Even “later versions of the same hardware” are actually different hardware and work differently than each other, just perhaps remain compatible in some ways. Compatible by design.

                  You say “have issues”. Yeah, have issues if you use the wrong drivers. In this case Tesla wouldn’t use the wrong drivers. They’d use the right drivers because they are integrating the system.

                  Is there some reason you have to pretend you know something about this when you apparently don’t know what you are talking about?

    4. Josh Bryant says:

      The way I read it is, “when will the features of the $3k package exceed the features of the $5k package.”

      Remember the Autopilot and Self driving are two separate options on a new build Tesla. 4 cameras or 8 cameras, respectively.

  3. Michael Will says:

    This would totally help seniors driving.

  4. tftf says:

    Exchange months with years in Musk’s tweets and you get a more realistic timelines…

    1. tftf says:

      This, hundred times…

      “We should note that even when the vehicles become Self-Driving capable, federal and state-level laws may prevent the vehicles from being operated without a “driver” behind the wheel.”

      It will take MANY years for regulators around the world to fully approve L3 to L5 autonomous cars!

      1. Some Guy says:

        Well, Germany technically legalized self-driving vehicles just yesterday by a new law. Computers are now officially allowed to do the driving, the car manufacturer is responsible for keeping to the speed limit and the “human driver” just has to be prepared to take over in case the computer can’t handle it. If the car has advanced system, all the “human driver” needs to have is a standard drivers license (and not being blind or drunk at the time of driving is possibly still mandatory as well).
        The law (surprisingly) does not specify that this is only applicable to German diesel ICE autonomous cars.
        Expect cars without drivers to be legalized as soon as BMW, VW or Daimler have such an offering in the portfolio, and be it for service purposes only.

        1. Josh Bryant says:

          Any chance you have a Google Translatable link to the wording of that law?

          The rules are similar in the US, except the driver has full liability. In the new German rules if “the computer can’t handle it”, who is liable?

          I agree the laws won’t be forward thinking enough to leave behind the local automakers. Same as every other country with large OEMs.

  5. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    “Musk’s 3-6 month timeline is much sooner than expected…”

    Indeed it is!

    However, after having been proven thoroughly wrong about the ability of Tesla cars’ radar to “see” the second vehicle ahead of the Tesla car, even past an intervening vehicle with no windows (or blocked windows), I’m not about to say that Tesla can’t do it that fast.

    The rapidity of Tesla’s pace in developing practical autonomous driving is one of the most astounding cases of technological progress that I’ve seen in my lifetime.

    Go Tesla!