Elon moved his last deadline up by five months.
Elon Musk was one of the star guests at a recent energy conference in Norway, where he made yet another bold claim.
When asked what he's most focused on at the moment, he stated that he wanted to get SpaceX's Starship into orbit and to get Teslas to a point where they can do self-driving. The timeline for both goals is the end of the year.
"I want Full Self-Driving [FSD] to have a wide release at least in the US, and hopefully, potentially, in Europe where [Tesla] has regulatory approval," said Musk.
Instead of pushing the timeline backward, Musk's latest statement moves it ahead by a few months. This news comes shortly after Tesla increased the price of FSD to $12,000 on all models from the Tesla Model 3 upwards.
Speaking at a conference in Brazil in May 2022, Musk promised Full Self-Driving within a year. But Musk's latest deadline cuts the engineers' development time by five months. Musk clearly states in the video above that he has a team that works with him. One has to wonder whether they were consulted or whether they found out about their new deadline via YouTube...
While self-driving is not illegal in any state, Tesla's Autopilot and FSD currently face heavy scrutiny. The NHTSA is currently investigating 38 cases in which Autopilot was allegedly involved, and things aren't much better on the FSD side.
Earlier this year, an amateur politician, Dan O'Dowd, based his entire election campaign around the dangers of FSD. O'Dowd published a commercial showing a Tesla Model 3 running over a child-sized mannequin. Tesla fans were furious and started publishing their own tests on YouTube. In one case, a Tesla owner even used his children as crash test dummies. The bizarre situation escalated, and Tesla eventually resorted to legal action.
In addition to the above, a Tesla owner recently discovered that Tesla's camera-based system is easily confused by different-sized road signs. Besides Tesla and Toyota, most manufacturers working on autonomous systems rely on a combination of cameras, radar, and LiDAR.
FSD is currently only available to specific customers to beta test. We've seen FSD Beta mess up a few times, but there is also evidence that proves how helpful it can be. Thanks to the beta testers' feedback, Tesla can constantly update the system.
Going live with FSD for everyone is a giant leap forward. It's a step that will likely force the government's hand, considering recent damining reports about advanced driver assistance systems. To date, Tesla has not addressed the issue of who would be responsible in the event of an accident while using FSD.
Other manufacturers are taking a more cautious approach, most likely because they will claim full responsibility in the event of a crash. Mercedes-Benz already has the technology to build a self-driving vehicle, but its systems are getting a slow rollout in high-end cars like the S-Class and EQS.
More importantly, Mercedes has stated that it will take full responsibility for the crash, which must have made 99% of the legal department resign immediately.
Tesla's lofty ambitions for full autonomy - not FSD, which is only a Level 2+ system - have been in the pipeline for a long time but have thus far not materialized. Should Musk et al. manage to at least get FSD fully active by year-end, it would be a massive step towards the ultimate goal, but unless Tesla is willing to accept liability for instances where the car makes a decision and not the driver, it will open a legal minefield for which the USA is ill-prepared.