Elon Musk has said Tesla’s value depends largely on its ability to develop self-driving technology, otherwise the company is “essentially worth zero.”
In a recent interview, the billionaire said he wants to fix a number of issues with Tesla vehicles — including improving the cars’ built-in web browser, which he says is too slow — but that the “overwhelming focus is on the full fix.” self-driving”.
Mr Musk added that the feature was “essential”. It really is the difference between Tesla being worth a lot of money and being worth virtually nothing.”
Tesla’s self-driving capabilities have recently been questioned. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that from July last year through May 15, vehicles equipped with Autopilot, Total Self-Driving, Traffic Aware Cruise Control or other driver assistance systems were involved in 273 accidents.
Tesla has about 830,000 vehicles with the systems on the road, making it the highest ratio of accidents to self-driving vehicles. The next automaker with the highest was Honda. Honda reported 90 ADAS accidents, but Honda says there are about six million vehicles on United States roads. Subaru was next with 10, and all other automakers reported five or fewer.
Elon Musk has claimed accidents can’t be Tesla’s fault – as extracted data shows Autopilot isn’t active in collisions. However, NHTSA has said it found 16 cases where the autopilot “aborted vehicle control less than a second before initial impact.”
Tesla’s features are considered assistance systems in which the driver is always liable.
Mr Musk also said the development of its self-driving cars is necessary because Tesla needs to make the cars “more enticing” to buy than other competitors.
“The lifespan of a car before it goes to the junkyard can be 20 years. The warranty typically expires after four years and there are a lot of things that aren’t covered by the warranty,” Musk said, citing advice he received from an unnamed investor.
“If you have a stationary fleet, that means 80% of your fleet is out of warranty,” he said.
“So you can sell high-margin replacement parts for the existing fleet and you can sell your new cars at virtually zero margin. It’s like a razor and blade thing.”
Mr. Musk has repeatedly missed self-imposed deadlines for autonomous driving technology. In 2019, he said he was “sure” that Teslas “will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up, take you to your destination without intervention” – even doubling down on the prediction by saying said, “That’s not a question mark”.
In 2021, Mr Musk made the claim again – saying that Teslas would become fully autonomous by 2022.