Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Letters From Tesla’s Counsel to California DMV Show Greater Wariness of Self-Driving Capability Than Elon Musk’s Public Comments

Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica:

In a pair of letters last November and December, officials at the California DMV asked Tesla for details about the FSD beta program. Tesla requires drivers using the beta software to actively supervise it so they can quickly intervene if needed. The DMV wanted to know if Tesla planned to relax requirements for human supervision once the software was made available to the general public.

In its first response, sent in November, Tesla emphasized that the beta software had limited functionality. Tesla told state regulators that the software is “not capable of recognizing or responding” to “static objects and road debris, emergency vehicles, construction zones, large uncontrolled intersections with multiple incoming ways, occlusions, adverse weather, complicated or adversarial vehicles in the driving path, and unmapped roads.”

In a December follow-up, Tesla added that “we expect the functionality to remain largely unchanged in a future, full release to the customer fleet.” Tesla added that “we do not expect significant enhancements” that would “shift the responsibility for the entire dynamic driving task to the system.” The system “will continue to be an SAE Level 2, advanced driver-assistance feature.”

Apparently this is the year that we get fully autonomous transportation — assuming Tesla manages to resolve that enormous list of things not recognized by its “full self-driving” software. So this is not the year that we get fully autonomous transportation, and the name of Tesla’s “Autopilot” software is still writing cheques that it cannot cash. Some things never change.