Elon Musk’s Tesla Unlikely To Preserve ‘Full Self-Driving’ Characteristic Promise

Tesla watchers have highlighted the changes on the company’s website after noticing how Elon Musk’s company has seemingly taken a step back from its promise of delivering a fully autonomous vehicle functionality.

“The future use of these features without supervision is dependent on achieving reliability far in excess of human drivers as demonstrated by billions of miles of experience, as well as regulatory approval, which may take longer in some jurisdictions. As these self-driving capabilities are introduced, your car will be continuously upgraded through over-the-air software updates,” Tesla’s updated website states.

Vigilant Tesla watchers on the Tesla Motors Club chat forum were first to spot the changes made recently. Previously, Elon Musk’s company caught the attention of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and this also prompted the changes or “minor edits” on its website regarding autonomous functionality, according to news.com.au.

“Current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous,” the text on the site currently states. There is the $3,000 Autopilot option, but it only provides a driver assist system that’s also found on luxury cars as opposed to providing a fully autonomous feature.

People can also choose to go for the “Full Self Driving Capability” that costs $5,000. This can provide the fully autonomous experience. However, the exact date on when it will become available is still not clear. The updated website also states that it “may take longer in some jurisdictions” to accomplish the required regulatory approval.

The issue piles up along with other Tesla promises that are putting the company in more trouble. Tesla’s founder is also in hot water with the Securities and Exchange Commission for his Twitter statements about the vehicle deliveries of the company. According to the SEC, Musk violated the terms of a previously agreed settlement. His tweets on taking Tesla private last August were misleading.

“Disobeying an order of the court is an insult to the court and the judge. So the court has to take this seriously,” Stephen Crimmins, a former agency enforcement lawyer who is now a partner at Murphy & McGonigle, said. Crimmins added that the SEC will be pressing hard on the matter.  

Elliot Lutzker, a former SEC lawyer and an expert in securities-law compliance, said that the SEC may go down hard on Musk. The organization will likely aim for a suspension to warn Musk and teach him a lesson. Luztker added that the SEC is not attempting to hurt shareholders of Tesla. It is also not aiming to put the company in a bad situation than it already is.

In 2017, the company promised a car that could drive from Los Angeles to New York without a human intervening. Musk also said that the full self-driving capability should be available by end of 2020, but many doubt this especially since Tesla is only working on cameras and radar for self-driving. Other car makers believe that lidar is essential to achieving a fully autonomous experience.