Tesla is indisputably leading the electric revolution that is sweeping the automobile market. But the interest around the cars of the company founded by Elon Musk is not only in the fact that they are electric. Much of the value of its vehicles lies in the technology they incorporate, in the semi-autonomous driving capabilities they incorporate and, especially, in the promise of becoming fully autonomous cars in the future.
In relation to this goal, Elon Musk has made multiple statements over the past few years. Often, the company’s CEO promised that, the following year, the company would release some software update that would turn Tesla’s into fully autonomous cars. However, in the middle of 2022, the reality is that the Autopilot system has yet to evolve. And, as a curious viral video on Reddit demonstrates, the executive has been making the same claim since 2014.
Jokes aside, few doubt that Tesla will eventually become fully autonomous cars and that Elon Musk will therefore achieve his goal. The question is when it will happen. And, seeing the South African-born tycoon’s track record, it probably won’t be next year as he may say on occasion.
On his Twitter profile, Elon Musk acknowledged that “widespread autonomous driving is a hard problem, as it requires solving a lot of real-world AI.” “I didn’t expect it to be this hard, but the difficulty is obvious in retrospect. Nothing has more degrees of freedom than reality,” he continued.
The regulations in place in different regions and countries is another major hurdle Tesla and Elon Musk face on their path to autonomous cars. First of all, the company must convince all stakeholders (including regulators) with a solution effective enough to be deployed without fear on a massive scale. A development that, in parallel, must be accompanied by an adaptation of the rules by the regulators.
Autonomous cars will sooner or later become a reality. Tesla probably has the most exposure in this field – and probably has one of the most advanced systems – but it is not the only company investing in this direction. All the major groups are working, to a greater or lesser extent, on autonomous solutions to make their vehicles increasingly intelligent. The question, again, is not if it will happen, but when.