No this is not the latest claim by Elon Musk, at least not that I am aware of. This is a proclamation that I am making based upon what a "competitor" said.
Telsa is noted for their split with the industry regarding autonomous driving. Musk made a very public decision to skip LIDAR, instead opting for camera technology. At the time, it put Tesla far behind since camera technology was not up to par with LIDAR.
Things changed over the past few years. Image recognition technology is light years ahead of where it was even a couple years ago. This not only closed the gap but pole-vaulted Musk into the lead. Many AI experts believed this was the way it would unfold.
We see a challenge now with the LIDAR option. Simply put, the ability of cameras via image recognition advanced at a much greater pace than the price of LIDAR dropped.
Amnon Shashua, CEO of Mobileye, appeared on Cramer's show to discuss the advancement of the technology. He claims that the company is targeting early 2022 for fully autonomous vehicles to be on the street. His view is that robotaxis are going to be dispatched at that point for a couple reasons. The first is the fact that the cost is between $15,000-$40,000 per vehicle and commercial fleets are more likely to pay that. Secondly, it is easier to regulate fleet owners as opposed to individual car owners.
This makes sense but does provide a bit of a problem.
The Full Self Driving option on a Tesla is now $7,000, and that is after a $1,000 price increase. Sashua plans on getting the technology down to $5,000 by 2025, Tesla will likely be able to do that within a year (if not now).
Here is the interview by Cramer along with a write up on the CNBC site.
I think it is important to mention that Tesla did start out using the Mobileye technology before deciding to pursue things on their own.
Another vital fact is that each new Tesla comes with 7 or 8 camera, meaning that Musk is putting over 700K cameras on the road every quarter. This is providing company with a ton of real world data.
Musk stated that he would have a fully autonomous vehicle by the end of 2020. Like many of his predictions, I took it with a grain of salt. I feel that it was simply Musk time which equates to about 3 years in real world. Since he made that statement in 2019, I figured his one year time frame was really 3, putting it at 2022.
But now seeing that Mobileye is hoping to have it by 2022, I think Musk is ahead of the curve.
Do not be surprised if Tesla announced full autonomy at some point in 2020.
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