Tesla Confirms Use Of Self Driving For Future Service Center Repairs

9 months ago by Eric Loveday 37

Tesla Service Center

Tesla Service Center

Tesla’s top German executive, Jochen Rudat, recently sat down for an interview with Manager Magazin.

The interview was largely uneventful (little new info released), but one comment that Rudat made caught our attention.

Tesla Service Center

Tesla Service Center

When asked how Tesla will handle servicing all its vehicles (especially when the Model 3 comes out in volume), he responded with something we hinted at before:

“Our [service] infrastructure is growing with the needs of our customers. We will double the Tesla sales and service centers to 26 [in Germany] by the end of this year. We will also more than double the number of our employees. In addition, our vehicles need much less service than the competition. Software updates replace the workshop visits in many cases.”

“And think about what will be possible when Tesla models will soon be completely autonomous. They will deliver themselves to service centers.

That self-driving to service centers is a topic we covered in detail recently and we think it’s a swell idea…in theory. However, Rudat later retracted his comment by saying it was meant in jest. We however believe there’s some truth to it, but Tesla isn’t quite ready to make that announcement just yet.

Source: Manager Magazin

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37 responses to "Tesla Confirms Use Of Self Driving For Future Service Center Repairs"

  1. SJC says:

    They have ONE center in Denver, so the car is suppose to drive itself there and back?

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Why not?

      If the car can drive itself, say, 15 miles, then it should just as easily be able to drive itself 200-300 miles, once Tesla solves the problem with autonomous cars plugging in at a Supercharger station.

      Ditto for any loaner car the service center needs to send to its customers.

      From the astonishing rapidity of advancement in Tesla’s Autopilot/AutoSteer, it looks like it won’t be long until the major barrier to driving that distance will be regulatory, not the capability of the cars and the self-driving software.

      Failure of imagination here?

      1. SJC says:

        Imagine people putting up with cars driving 100 miles at 70 mph with no driver. It does not take imagination to see some may be concerned for safety.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          It’s the human drivers on the road you should be concerned about, not the autonomous cars!

          Autonomous cars don’t text on their cellphone while driving, they don’t drive while drunk or high, they don’t fall asleep, and they don’t get distracted.


          1. SJC says:

            Then make pilotless airliners then see how many people want them flying over their houses.

    2. no comment says:

      i’m not sure why insideevs posted this article since the guy was clearly joking. but then when i see the number of posters who seem to believe that this is a serious article…

      let’s return to reality for a moment, folks. wide scale autonomous vehicles are years, if not decades, away. the regulators haven’t even devoted much effort to how autonomous driving is to be regulated, and most technically knowledgeable people know that this stuff is no where near being ready for wide scale deployment.

      as far as tesla is concerned, however, getting people to buy the hardware now, is worth several thousands of dollars per car.

      1. Jason says:

        Watching the latest Bolt autonomous driving videos certainly make it seem much closer than decades.

        Legislators might not be able to catch up, but since when did that so people? Not supposed to use mobile phones in your hand while driving, but I see at least 10 every single day. When When cassette tapes, VCR, DVD-R, etc cane out you are not supposed to record copyright material but people do it every day, then they make acceptable use policy because it’s going to happen anyway. Autonomous cars will/are the same. The genies out of the bottle, you can’t put it back and the laws will have to catch up.

        Once people have access, and get used to hire easy it makes their life, they won’t go back, never happens.

        1. no comment says:

          there is a reason why many states outlaw texting and driving, because of the accidents that are more prone to occur when people engage in such activity. unlike your cell phone, autonomous hardware is installed in the car, so it is more easily regulated.

      2. Martin Winlow says:

        I’m sorry but from what I have already seen and experienced for myself you are very clearly very wrong. If it were the case that ‘the powers that be’ (government, big business – especially insurance co’s etc) were against the idea then I might be inclined to see your POV. As it is, the technology is very clearly very close (if not actually here already) and the government especially will be cock-a-hoop with the idea of being able to reduce the cost of accidents… by maybe 90%? Meanwhile insurance companies will be laughing all the way to the bank! I, for one, do not expect to see a reduction in my car insurance premiums once autonomy is commonplace and yet the insurance losses will virtually disappear!

        1. no comment says:

          you’re making bold claims without knowledge. wide scale deployment of autonomous driving means that it will be used in millions of cars simultaneously. there are all manner of scaleability issues that this raises for cloud computing, and hacking. when your computer locks up because of a network problem, it’s an inconvenience. on the other hand, if the appliance that locks up is an operating vehicle, the implications are much more serious. a responsible regulator would have to consider such scenarios. by contrast, if you’re just looking at autonomous vehicle technology from the perspective of a techie fanboy, you don’t have to be responsible. that’s why you don’t want techie fanboys making public policy.

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            The software for autonomous cars certainly needs to be much more robust, much more error-free, than that typically sold to consumers.

            For multiple large complex programs which interact with each other — and that certainly describes the software controlling autonomous cars — it’s almost mathematically impossible to ensure that 100% of the computer operations are 100% error-free. As programs become more complex, the way they interact with other programs, especially other complex programs, becomes harder and harder to predict with 100% accuracy.

            However, that said, it is entirely possible to reduce the number of software “bugs” to a minimum that’s orders of magnitude less than that typically found in modern commercial software, for which frankly error-free programming isn’t even a design goal.

            For example, regarding the onboard software controlling the Space Shuttle:

            But how much work the software does is not what makes it remarkable. What makes it remarkable is how well the software works. This software never crashes. It never needs to be re-booted. This software is bug-free. It is perfect, as perfect as human beings have achieved. Consider these stats: the last three versions of the program — each 420,000 lines long — had just one error each. The last 11 versions of this software had a total of 17 errors. Commercial programs of equivalent complexity would have 5,000 errors.

            (source below)

            Contrariwise, it’s entirely possible to eliminate, or virtually eliminate, the problems with computer hardware malfunctions. Speaking of the Space Shuttle: That system virtually eliminated any hardware malfunction problems by using five computers running in parallel. If they disagreed on anything, they “voted” on which was the correct answer. While of course it’s possible for a random event (power spike, gamma ray hit on the microprocessor) to cause a random, non-repeating glitch in the operation, an identical malfunction due to some outside event is not likely to happen to two computers simultaneously. For example, a power spike might affect all the computers at the same time, but it’s extremely unlikely to cause exactly the same malfunction in all of them.

            That approach to error-free operation certainly could be used in autonomous cars. Adding another two or another four microprocessors to run the software simultaneously in parallel, “voting” in case of any discrepancy, is a safety feature that certainly can be implemented, and without that much additional cost. These days, microprocessors are fairly cheap.

            It is, of course, not realistic to expect that every individual auto maker will be able to design autonomous driving software which is as error-free as that of the Space Shuttle, especially not when that software has to be frequently updated… which means it will never be entirely “stable”.

            But let us remember that the practical, real-world goal for self-driving cars isn’t to eliminate 100% of accidents. It’s merely to make riding in one considerably safer than a human driving a car. To that end, we certainly should expect autonomous driving software to be far more error-free than that browser you’re using on your Windows platform — and of course, far more error-free than any version of Windows ever has been.

            Error-free programming certainly should be one of the primary goals of those designing software to operate autonomous cars. A goal which cannot be fully attained, but software engineers should try to get as close as humanly possible. Engineers often accept that any system they build which is subjected to real-world conditions can’t ever be 100% assured of never failing within the expected lifetime of the system. In the real world, sometimes Chaos wins.


      3. Mike says:

        There is a recent BMW cgi video showing its fleet autonomously arriving at and being scheduled for Service. On arrival in the parking lot, a robot valet escorts the car and provides visual and audible safety instructions to pedestrians. will try to find it again.

      4. Victor says:

        When the roads get ahead of the cars of the future that is when it going to happen until then we will have to drive right now we’re way ahead of the government in miles it will have to get down to fraction of a inch for it to work

    3. fran m farrell says:

      Centers of user inconvenience and dealer profit will be reengineered to save users time and MONEY.

  2. Ijmijonjak stu catso Etc: says:

    Yep! all by itself There & Back! L M A O..

    1. Anon says:

      Tesla cars will deliver themselves to their new owners, too.

      Laugh at that, Hyena Boy.

      1. Ijmijonjak stu catso Etc: says:

        Now that is very funny, “Hyena Boy” Deliver themselves * No human intervention at all..That may be a good thing. That way nobody will try to sell you extras..

        1. Jason says:

          Can’t you order Tesla online? You just get what you order? I assume part of that process is telling the system where you want to pick it up from, but I never bought a Tesla, so not sure, except from all the comments that it is not like a usual franchise model of hard sellers.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      He who laughs last, laughs best… Hyena Boy.

  3. Someone out there says:

    Pretty obvious really.

  4. John says:

    I think third shift service hours make the most sense. Drive there when the owners are asleep, get service, and then back in the garage before they’re missed. I like it!

    However, I’ve said all along…I’ll be really impressed when my car can go pick up my pizza for me.

  5. Four Electrics says:

    This is the reason Elon is looking into tunnel boring. Tesla Model X service volume is so high that special underground routes are needed for autonomous Teslas to get to service centers.

    1. Anon says:

      Must be running out of stuff to troll with? You’re not making any sense.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Tunnels? No.

      * * * * *

      Hyperloop is not…

      Hyperloop is not a big truck.

      Hyperloop is not something that you just dump something on.


      Hypeloop is tubes!

      These people are massively inventive; the world of Hyperloop.

      Long distance, it’s tubes!

      Hyperloop is a series of tubes!

      (With apologies to U.S. senator Ted Stevens)



    3. William says:

      High Service Volume and Tesla model X, you are high on X!

  6. unlucky says:

    Yes, of course.

    They should probably start by having the cars at least drive themselves around the service center. Have them park themselves, drive themselves onto lifts, come to the front for pickup, etc.

    It’s good practice and they don’t need any special permissions to do it.

  7. Nix says:

    “Mr. Smith, I’m sorry to inform you that your Tesla became self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th 2017 while on its way to being serviced. It appears to have gone rogue, and is supercharging its way to Canada.”


    1. Priusmaniac says:

      Don’t worry, she will be back.

    2. Daniel says:

      “Mr. Smith, please don’t go after your car. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop – ever.”


  8. Mike says:

    There is a recent BMW cgi video showing its fleet autonomously arriving at and being scheduled for Service. On arrival in the parking lot, a robot valet escorts the car and provides visual and audible safety instructions to pedestrians. will try to find it again.

  9. Bernhard says:

    Should solve the problem of Tesla not being allowed to sell cars in certain states…
    Just purchase online, car is delivered to your front door. If you have programmed your garage it even can enter the garage on its own, so overnight delivery will be possible. It is like Santa Claus was there…

  10. Priusmaniac says:

    In the mean time there is probably a faster possibility in the form of a self driving convoy system where one Tesla person driving a car in front is successively followed by 2 or 3 cars to service behind him following at an automated very short distance. In that way the cars can be collected and brought back more easily than with a truck carrying them.
    It is an in between that loses a lot in comparison but it still is interesting and likely much more easy to make pass the legal bottleneck.

    1. guyinacar says:

      Correct. That’s called “platooning” for over-the-road trucks. For widebody jets (the target of which is trans Pacific cargo, for now), they call the approach “drones” or “unmanned cargo,” even if it’s not truly unmanned. The interim step is to have the second and tertiary cargo jets or trucks follow the on-duty pilot in the first vehicle closely, even if others are sleeping. It’s like Canadian geese flying in formation: they rotate “lead goose” in shifts. It’s all very much under development, and easily googled.

      Now, that begs some questions. A cyclist was recently killed by the REAR wheels of an 18-wheeler near my home. The driver didn’t know about the impact until days later, and (due to an odd road configuration), a grand jury determined that the driver couldn’t have known that a death had resulted 50′ behind the cab, and he didn’t have a reason to suspect it. He plum didn’t know it had happened. I think we can all agree that was a tragedy, and the lack of liability may or may not have been fair.

      So what happens when an injury occurs 100′ or perhaps a half-mile behind the responsible pilot of a truck or 747 or a Tesla? Who’s responsible? Tesla? The pilot? The (contract) software programmer? The sensor manufacturer, like Delco? The car wash, where the lens got some water spots? The city, for salting the roads and fouling the sensors with slush? The car owner, at home in bed?

      The thorny bits here aren’t technical. They’re legal.

      1. Priusmaniac says:

        I see what you mean, that is why I limited to 2 or 3 cars only behind the lead car. So the driver can still check the hole with only a meter between cars. The driver would also be fully responsible just like with a trailer, the only difference is that the hook is not mechanical but electronic. The easiest would be starting with one vehicle behind and then see how it goes when more are added, although 3 is probably the limit due to traffic lights. Note that even for just one it would syill be handy.

  11. notting says:

    “Our [service] infrastructure is growing with the needs of our customers. We will double the Tesla sales and service centers to 26 [in Germany] by the end of this year.”

    No entries in the map on the Tesla website, whereas new sales representitives where announced quite early in the past…

    “In addition, our vehicles need much less service than the competition.”

    – Tesla says in general every 1 year/20Mm. Already the first one includes all fluids in the engine. My Renault Megane (ICE) needs maintanance every 2 years/30Mm (no additional oil change etc. in between). The Zoe every 1 year/30Mm.
    – Tesla needs to change the brake fluid every 4 years/80Mm. The first time I had to pay that for my Renault was at 120Mm (at the age of 4 years).
    – Tesla says battery cooling fluid every 4 years/80Mm, whereas Renault says that the synchronous belt needs to be replaced every 5-6 years/120-160Mm (depending on the engine).
    – In the long run, Tesla wants in best case 618,75EUR/year for maintenance (including windscreen wipers). Even my ICE is a little bit cheaper. The Zoe costs a little bit more than 100EUR/year (without windscreen wipers, I’d guess ca. +12EUR/year, that’s what I’m paying for my car for Bosch Aerotwin from Amazon every 2 years) -> https://blog.renault.de/neues-von-renault-zoe-tuev/
    – Currently in my case ca. 1,4% of that 20Mm intervall would be needed to bring my car to the next Tesla service and back. Maintenance of the Renault Zoe is possible in _every_ Renault garage (in most towns/cities with >=20k population I’d say, big cities often have multiple Renault garages).

    “Software updates replace the workshop visits in many cases.”

    With my Renault I never had the feeling I need one – except concerning the max. volume when switching the radio on, but that’s stupid EU law what the followed (engine is usually much louder…). If you have the feeling you don’t need one, it can’t replace going to the garage because you wouldn’t go there…
    In other words: More banana-ware -> more firmware updates needed…


    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Your Renault Megane has an entry-level MSRP of £16,600, or US $20,730.

      I’m sure most cars selling for a base price of $20,730 or less need much less maintenance than a Tesla Model S, since they’re far simpler cars, with far less to go wrong. It’s not a fair comparison.

      Try comparing the Model S to a gasmobile with an average sale price of ~$95,000.

      1. notting says:

        The cheapest version of my car without any options would have cost ca. 17kEUR plus shipping (a few 100EUR – no chance to get that cheaper). That was in 2009. Assuming an average inflation of 2%/year -> Ca. 20kEUR today. And the Model S IIRC has much more features like PDC that were an option, so you have to add that prices to be comparable (a few kEUR because many options aren’t available in the lower lines, but that shouldn’t make maintenance really more expensive).
        And e.g. concerning the range it’s actually a fair comparison, esp. because a few years ago there weren’t many vehicles close to the range of a Model S (were 60kWh was the technical smallest capacity).

        BTW: BMW series 7 maintenance contract for the first 5 years costs 1kEUR, at least in Germany…