Hybrids & Electrics

There Are Reasons to Be Skeptical about Self-Driving Tesla Models

Hybrids and all-electric vehicles are heavily influencing the car industry today. However a new trend is arising, and that has everything to do with autonomous driving or self-driving cars. Each carmaker is approaching this advanced technology differently, especially Tesla. The electric vehicle company has taken a more head-on approach by offering self-driving features as a subscription service to current Tesla owners. Now, Chief Executive Elon Musk says Tesla is “very close” to accomplishing Level 5 autonomous driving technology.

Musk’s big tech promises 

Tesla CEO Elon Musk giving a speech
Elon Musk giving a speech | PHILIP PACHECO/AFP via Getty Images

Musk has been known to make seemingly outrageous and even sometimes far-fetched plans. Musk’s recent comments about self-driving car technology might not be one of his publicity stunts, but it is a very ambitious plan. Level 5 self-driving car technology is the highest degree of autonomous driving. This level doesn’t require human attention at all so car occupants can just be passengers and in theory, shouldn’t have to worry about much else. 

“I’m extremely confident that level 5 or essentially complete autonomy will happen and I think will happen very quickly,” Musk said.

Elon Musk at annual Shanghai World Artificial Intelligence Conference

Musk went on to say that he is confident that Tesla will have the “basic functionality” necessary to achieve Level 5 autonomy this year. Other carmakers and big technology companies such as General Motors and Uber Technologies are also inching toward autonomous driving. 

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The reasons to be skeptical about self-driving Teslas 

The Tesla news is quite curious, but Musk has been teasing fully self-driving cars for years now. Furthermore, there are a few reasons as to why we haven’t seen more self-driving cars. For starters, auto experts say it will take additional time to create the right technology for fully autonomous driving. Then automakers would have to earn buyers’ trust. Many buyers perceive Tesla to be an innovative company and that’s very true. However, the carmaker has been at the center of numerous quality issues. 

Some issues are simple like low-quality paint on the Tesla Model Y. Other instances are far more serious. There was a recent lawsuit alleging that Tesla’s Autopilot system led to a tragic accident that killed a motorcyclist in Japan. Other potential safety hazards have to do with Tesla models’ media control units. We’ll just have to stay tuned to see if Musk can live up to the promises he keeps making. 

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Other recent Tesla innovations

Tesla has already deployed its Autopilot driver-assistance feature on its Model 3 sedan. The Autopilot feature works as an advanced safety system that’s designed to assist drivers with maintaining control on the road. This system features a host of cameras, radars, and sensors to help drivers maneuver different scenarios. Tesla also refers to the Autopilot feature as “self-driving capability,” but drivers must be fully attentive in order to best use this feature. 

Another one of Tesla’s automated features you are probably familiar with is Smart Summon, which allows drivers to summon their vehicles instead of having to walk over to the car itself. Smart Summon has been one of Tesla’s most memorable innovations, but many experts haven’t been too impressed with this technology.