Tesla’s self-driving tech is ‘vastly ahead of everyone’, says Musk

Elon Musk

Elon Musk thinks that Tesla is “vastly ahead of everyone.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently appeared on Lex Friedman’s Artificial Intelligence Podcast, where Musk spoke that how much longer people will be required to keep their hands on the wheel (“At least six months from here”) to what question would you ask of a very sentient artificial agent (“What’s outside the simulation?”).

But the bulk of the discussion centered around Tesla’s pursuit of self-driving vehicles. Tesla has long offered a $5,000 “Full Self-Driving Capability” package for its automobiles, vowing access to an eventual software update allowing the company’s cars to drive themselves.

Musk reinstated this promise, saying: “The hardware currently being produced is capable of full self-driving.” But autonomy won’t be an overnight event where you drive yourself home from work one day and the next morning, after a little OTA action, enjoy a completely automated commute. “As we refine the software, the capabilities will increase dramatically, and then the reliability will boost dramatically, and then it will receive regulatory approval.”

Musk believes autonomy will make a car much more valuable, perhaps five times more than in comparison with a normal, human-driven machine. “If you buy a Tesla today I believe you are buying an appreciating asset, not a depreciating asset,” said Elon Musk.

Outside of a rare few desirable collector machines and seemingly every Porsche more than 20 years old, few cars actually do wind up appreciating in value remarkably. And, very few manufacturers would be bold enough to make that a promise of their new vehicles.

But back to autonomy, when will the vehicles begin to start driving themselves? Musk believes you will need to keep your hands on the wheel for “at least six months from here.”

Musk’s basic thesis is that once Autopilot is proven more safer (perhaps by 200%, he notes), then letting a human take over, in fact, becomes risky behavior. He refers to the early days of elevators, where a human pilot manually directed them to go up or down with a lever.

Musk further states, “Nobody wants an elevator operator, because the automated elevator that stops at the floors is much safer.”

About the competition in self-driving world, Musk says, “To me, right now this seems like game, set and match. I don’t want to be complacent or overconfident, but that is literally how it looks right now. I could be wrong, but it appears to be the case that Tesla is vastly ahead of everyone.”

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