Driving Tesla himself 1

Tesla's self-driving mode is apparently not designed for autonomous driving

Last Friday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter that the electric car maker intends to double the scope of its beta program for testing software for autonomous driving. It should therefore be ready for the market this year. Now, however, an extensive correspondence between Tesla and the California Motor Vehicle Authority (DMV) has been published, which should raise doubts about the tight schedule of the US company, reports "Ars Technica". Because Musk's long-term goal of putting driverless cars on the streets soon seems further away than claimed.

By the end of 2021, Musk promised in December, it should be that time. Because he is "very confident" that the Tesla vehicles would reach level five thanks to tests. In the correspondence that has now emerged - which took place between December 2019 and December 2020 - Tesla admits, however, that the current beta is not really suitable for completely driverless operation despite the "full self-driving" designation. At the same time, the company made it clear that they would only begin to test "real autonomous functions" at an indefinite point in time.

Limited functionality

The DMV asked Tesla for details about the beta program, as the group is currently asking drivers to always actively monitor what is happening so that they can intervene quickly if necessary. The agency now wanted to know whether Tesla had planned to relax these requirements as soon as the software is available to the general public.

In November, the carmaker emphasized in a response that the functionality of the beta software was limited and that the software "is not able to detect static objects and road debris, emergency vehicles, construction site areas, large uncontrolled intersections with multiple entrances, unfavorable weather" or Recognize roads that have not yet been mapped.

In December, Tesla also informed the authorities as part of an addendum that the range of functions would remain the same for the customer fleet even if a future full version was released. "We will not expect any significant enhancements," which "would shift responsibility for driving entirely to the system," wrote the company.

Level two versus level four

The system used should continue to be regarded as an advanced driver assistance function at level two. By definition, however, this also means that the system must be constantly controlled by people. For comparison: the vehicles of the Waymo taxi service already use level four systems.

If Tesla actually wants to release a full version of its own software for completely autonomous driving this year, the group would not have much time for further development and verification by the responsible authorities, the tech reporters fear. Because when you look at the correspondence with the DMV, it turns out that the Group's technologies don't seem to be quite that far. (red, March 11, 2021)