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Musk: Self-Driving Cars Next Year

Cars that need no human driver are coming next year, Elon Musk says — again.

Elon Musk was in Brazil recently for talks with its president, Jair Bolsonaro, to discuss using SpaceX technology to help bring internet to schools in rural areas of the country and to monitor Amazon rainforest deforestation, according to Drive Tesla Canada. There is no word on whether he encouraged the exalted leader of that country to stop destroying the rainforest in the first place, however. While in Brazil, he told the press he expects Tesla will have self-driving cars without the need for humans in about a year.

Tesla has been making progress towards the goal of making cars that require no input from human drivers in recent years with its Full Self Driving Beta program, which has more than 100,000 testers currently in the US and Canada. In a recent interview at the All In Summit, Musk said FSD is “quite sophisticated” and that the company should be able to expand the program to somewhere around 1 million Tesla owners before the end of this year.

He also suggested recently that Tesla will begin producing robotaxis soon. People who leased a Model 3 were never allowed to purchase their cars after their lease was up, because Tesla thought they were all going to be converted to robotaxi service. But apparently, that idea is no longer valid. Where Tesla might manufacture these new robotaxis has never been discussed publicly.

Musk has said the company can’t even think about making a less expensive Model 2 because it has the Semi, the Cybertruck, and the Roadster 2.0 to get to first, and it will be years before it will have the bandwidth to add any other models.

As for Musk’s latest claim that autonomous cars will arrive by next year, frankly, we have been hearing Musk sing that siren song since about 2015, or at least the last 3 years. If you look at the responses to the tweet above,  you will see there are quite a few folks who think Musk is still talking through his hat when he makes such claims. FSD Beta may be extraordinary, but it is still a long way from Level 5 or even Level 4 autonomous driving. Perhaps the proper response to Musk’s blandishments can be found in this video below. Color us skeptical.

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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."


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