Elon Musk just now realizing that self-driving cars are a ‘hard problem’

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is finally admitting that he underestimated how difficult it is to develop a safe and reliable self-driving car. To which the entire engineering community rose up as one to say, “No duh.”

Or at least that’s how it should have happened in a just world. Instead, all the Tesla sycophants and ass-kissers on Twitter told Musk to keep up the good work, that they believed in him, and encouraged him to hurry up and roll out the latest version of his “Full Self-Driving” software that, it’s worth pointing out, does not enable a Tesla vehicle to drive itself without input from the driver.

Musk has a long history of over promising and under delivering when it comes to his company’s so-called “Full Self-Driving” software. He did it in 2018, when he promised that the “long awaited” V9 (Version 9) would begin rolling out in August. He did it again in 2019, proclaiming that “a year from now” there would be “over a million cars with full self-driving, software, everything.”

He was back at it again this past weekend, promising that “FSD 9 beta is shipping soon,” with an added “I swear!” just in case you had any doubts about his solemnity.

There’s no question that Tesla is more willing than its competitors to test beta versions of its Autopilot driver assist feature on its customers in the interest of gathering data and working out any bugs in the system. And Tesla customers are mostly fine with this, routinely flooding Musk’s mentions begging to be white-listed for the current version of Full Self-Driving. This has helped contribute to Tesla’s public reputation as a leader in autonomous driving, despite its vehicles continuously falling short of what most experts would agree defines a self-driving car.

Tesla says Autopilot is safe — it releases quarterly reports with selectively reported data that it says proves this — but that it also requires constant input from the driver in order to work. Meanwhile, AV companies like Waymo have real driverless vehicles on public roads giving rides to passengers. Waymo, like practically every AV company, uses a combination of different sensors, like radar, lidar, and cameras, to ensure there are redundancies in case any system failures. Tesla recently switched to a camera-only sensing system. The contrast between Tesla and every other company pursuing self-driving technology couldn’t be more stark.

I, for one, am all for Musk taking as long as he wants with the release of V9. Let the cake bake for as long as it needs, in my opinion, especially after viewing videos like the one to just come out of China of a Tesla Model 3 in Autopilot utterly failing to take a sharp turn and crashing into a ditch.

An anonymous Twitter user who uses the handle @greentheonly to post “hacks” of Tesla’s Autopilot, recreated the scenario to demonstrate how the company’s driver assist feature struggles with these sharp turns. With an overlay of Tesla’s Autopilot display running in the corner of the screen, greentheonly shows how the vehicle “actually outputs various alerts before the eventual ‘take over we are giving up.’” Other times, the car actually slows down enough and manages to take the turn safely.

A system that fails to take a sharp turn in “half the cases” should not inspire a great amount of confidence! Quite the opposite actually. The number of open investigations into vehicle crashes involving Tesla Autopilot seems to be growing in inverse relation to customer expectations about Musk’s ability to deliver on the promises he’s been making (and breaking) for years now.

Musk isn’t alone in coming to the realization that self-driving cars are hard. Nearly the entire industry was predicting that by now ours roads would be swarmed with self-driving cars, only to later admit they underestimated how complicated it was to get cars to drive themselves safely and reliably.

To which we can now say to Musk, “Welcome to the party, pal.”

Comments

Elon Musk is finally admitting that he underestimated how difficult it is to develop a safe and reliable self-driving car.

All those lies and manipulation to finally admit it at the end.

It’s not lies though if someone truly believes it. The problem is very complex and like the article says the whole industry thought we would have it by now. I think everyone should realise how amazing humans are and that computers aren’t going to be replacing anytime soon at all.

It’s not lies though if someone truly believes it.

To which I retort, just because George Costanza said it doesn’t make it true.

and like the article says the whole industry thought we would have it by now

And whoever those people are, they were obviously wrong from the get-go. Any engineering thought should have always made it obvious that we were nowhere even close to getting it done.

The problem is Elon like to dream and then tell engineers to make it a reality, then before giving them any time or him being provided a timeline, he yells it out publicly and puts an impossible timeline on it. They truly have some amazing people on their team and they can do a lot to push the envelope, but eventually reality strikes. That is where Elon doesn’t do well. When reality doesn’t match his vision, or his concept isn’t the best solution, he just starts lashing out and name calling/blaming others. It’s a bit sad really.

I’ll just leave this link to my comment referring to some nonsense that he said about "all you need to do is improve the software" back in April 2019: "All you need to do is improve the software," he says, as if improving the software isn’t the MAIN DIFFICULT PROBLEM of the entire endeavor of self-driving cars.

What the hell. How does anyone take him seriously? lol

Watch enough SpaceX flights and landings, see those giant tunnels from point A to point B, drive some of Tesla’s cars, albeit not in FSD, and you get the sense that he does have something going for him.

SpaceX flights and landings

Ok, good point. That is completely unrelated to the topic at hand.

giant tunnels from point A to point B,

Ok, let me stop you there. Those tunnels are some of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever seen.

That is completely unrelated to the topic at hand.

Well the topic was:

How does anyone take him seriously?
Those tunnels are some of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever seen

You can think all day they’re dumb. But being able to make options to tackle common problems and have something on hand to showcase its potential viability is enough for a lot of people to take him seriously. Whether you like him or not, hes moving industries single handedly like finally getting car manufacturers to consider changing their cars from fossil fuels to electric. I’m neutral to him but I wont try to kid myself to think he’s just some nobody.

Both of you somehow don’t understand context. He said something dumb. Bringing up something else does not mean what he said, that was dumb, is no longer dumb. You realize that right? And no the tunnels are not tackling any issue. Less throughput, not safe, not handicap accessible. But they do have LEDs!

Also I never said he was a nobody, so I’m not sure why you brought that up.

You realize that right?

You stated in your comment about how anyone takes him seriously. Someone gives some examples of why anyone takes him seriously and then you counter him about the comment not being related to the topic even though his/her answer is completely related to your comment. What is irrelevant is whether he said something dumb or not. He says a lot of dumb things but, like him or hate him, like with my example mentioned, he’s moving industries no-one expected would ever move. That’s why people take him seriously. Actions speak louder than words as they say.

And no the tunnels are not tackling any issue. Less throughput, not safe, not handicap accessible
Also I never said he was a nobody, so I’m not sure why you brought that up
You stated in your comment about how anyone takes him seriously

I didn’t state this in a void. I stated this in a given context.

The tunnels is to potentially help provide a new way to open up heavy congested traffic in cities.

They won’t, the tunnels will get backed up at choke points, creating new headaches because they are poorly planned.

The larger point is, when he wades into an industry, he does seem to move the needle. You have the personal right to not take him seriously; nobody’s questioning that. But you cannot expect the rest of us to pooh-pooh his body of work because you have a few examples of things you don’t like.
If I made widgets, and Elon Musk declared he was going to start making widgets, I’d sit up and take notice. He might not be successful at widgets, but I wouldn’t bet against him.

Tesla cars must add two side facing cameras up front. Right now it relies on B-pillar cameras that are too placed too far back for some situations (such as crossing a one-way street with traffic approaching from the right -the right side B-pillar is too far back for that). It will also help at intersections where currently the car has to stop and creep forward a few feet. If you live in a city and have FSD you will see it has to stop and creep quite often. Seems like a waste of time that they could easily solve by adding two side facing cameras up front either in the bumper groove or on the fenders.

waiting for the weird nerds to defend their master.

Isn’t it kind of a weird nerd thing to wait for this?

It’s a weird nerd thing to even be here, reading these comments.

Exactly… figured that was understood.

I feel personally attacked

I’m calling myself out too, we’re in this together lol

Ah yes, when the assholes who hate Elon Musk fight the dickheads who love him!

Keep fighting the irrelevant fight folks! Your impotent self righteous anger is always entertaining.

Hating a billionaire is very rational. You keep licking the boot on your neck pal.

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