We’ve been hearing that full self-driving has been on the horizon for years at this point. With many failed promises from Tesla, and the release of FSD being constantly pushed back, it doesn’t feel like it’s ever coming. But we’ve gotten a new expected release date from Elon Musk. And this time, it might actually be happening.
We’ve known for quite some time that Tesla has been working on a complete rewrite of the foundation of Autopilot. This has naturally slowed visible progress on Autopilot, as the majority of work was being done behind the scenes. We have still seen some progress, such as the interesting traffic light and stop sign control feature. But the addition of that feature still doesn’t get us anywhere near FSD.
That rewrite is nearly done, and apparently we can expect the first rollout of FSD in 6-10 weeks.
This “quantum leap” could be very exciting. With the rewrite of Autopilot nearly finished, we’ll finally see all the work Tesla has been putting in over the past couple of years. Things like traffic light and stop sign control and summon were really just finding ways to push the limits of the old system. But with the new system, Elon says he can make his commute with almost 0 interventions. That is light-years ahead of what we’ve got currently.
But I am worried that Elon says “Almost at zero interventions”. Almost 0 interventions is still more than 0 interventions. I wouldn’t say it’s full self-driving if it still requires some intervention. That almost could be interpreted in many ways. It would only require intervention in rare circumstances, and Elon used almost to not imply Autopilot is a perfect system.
But I think there are real problems with an almost perfect system. I’d say it may even be more dangerous than an obviously imperfect system. People have been abusing the limited capabilities of Autopilot for years. If the system only rarely requires intervention, I imagine many more drivers will be act carelessly.
I could be worried about nothing. But if the new Autopilot system isn’t able to handle almost every situation safely, at least parking the car when conditions are not favorable for the system, we will have problems. I’m sure Tesla has thought of this, and hopefully, the system does a good job of alerting drivers when they need to take control.
I just hope we don’t see too many people falling asleep at the wheel. This is a very new technology and it will take time to audit it’s capabilities and establish regulations. Hopefully we won’t see too many careless drivers before that happens.
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