back to article Got an 'old' Tesla? Musk promises 'self-driving' upgrade chip ship by end of 2019

Elon Musk has promised owners of older Tesla cars will get access to an upgraded custom chip which he claims will provide the hardware required for eventual full-self-driving functions. Any Tesla fitted with Autopilot Hardware 2+, cars sold after October 2016, will be eligible for the upgraded chip and if you paid for the full …

  1. Spudley

    The announcement, if that's what it is, came in a tweeted reply from Elon Musk that the upgrade will come: "End of Q4, most likely."

    This was promised quite a long time ago. Yes, it was re-iterated by Musk on twitter over the weekend, but the original promise was made ages ago. In fact Musk's tweet that is quoted here was in reply to someone who knew that and was asking when it would happen.

    So basically no story here; just repeating stuff that was already known anyway by anyone paying attention.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Just shows how effective Musk's PR is. And it needs to be with orders continuing to decline.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "orders continuing to decline"???

        I'm pretty sure Tesla orders are stronger than ever at the moment. Amazing the FUD that is thrown around by people with vested interests.

        1. vtcodger Silver badge

          I decided to check with the reasonably authoritive source of all that it bad about Tesla -- Seeking Alpha. And I wasn't disappointed https://seekingalpha.com/article/4273612-tesla-demand-mirage

          Bottom Line: Tesla demand is probably suprficially OK ... BUT ...

          1. New orders are probably largely for vehicles that don't actually exist -- Model Y and a cheap Chinese built Model 3 built for China. You can order them, but Tesla can't currently build them. You can (they assert) order a vehicle currently in production and expect delivery fairly soon.

          2. Last quarter, Tesla built 87K vehicles and delivered 95K vehicles. That delivery rate is clearly unsustainable without increased production. There are only so many undelivered vehicles in inventory.

          3. Tesla's is no longer promising to deliver between 360K and 400K vehicles this year.

          4. Current deliveries appear increasingly to be low end Model3s. Low end means low price and presumably low margin. The margins probably are not sufficient to sustain the company.

          As I read it, these particular folks at Seeking Alpha think Tesla is wildly overvalued and have shorted the stock. They DO make a plausible case. But maybe they are wrong.

          1. robidy

            To quote your article "So yes - there is a ton of "demand"".

            Of couse what about the profits I hear you cry...disruptors think about profits later...I don't need to teach you to suck eggs on this one.

          2. jmch Silver badge

            Difficult to have a better analysis with very few details. Long-term, Tesla needs a steady stream of production so it's long-term a good thing that there is already high demand for model Y and Chinese Model 3. Holding steady at around 80-900k vehicles per quarter is probably more sustainable than maximising production in the short term and running out of demand in the medium term.

            With regards to margin, I think you're way off the mark. A teardown of model 3 last year estimated they can build it with around 25-30% margin. Tesla themselves claim to be aiming for 25%. That's the same sort of range as BMW, Audi, Mercedes who make around $10k profit on each car on average ( https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/17/profit-ferrari-makes-per-car.html )

            For the lower end of the market eg Ford, the gross margin per car is about 10% (https://evannex.com/blogs/news/tesla-model-3-profit-target-is-5x-higher-than-the-average-vehicle-from-ford) I think the linked article might be over-optimistic on the volume Tesla can manage (they're certainly not going to be producing half a million each of model 3 and Y). And maybe Tesla is overvalued on the market, partly based on hype. But it certainly looks to me like a going concern.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "people with vested interests"

          I see Tesla getting bashed by certain media and news websites whenever they get a chance.

          Even negative storys about Tesla's where the basis of the article really has nothing to do with the make and model of the actual vehicle(s) involved.

          So yes, I truly believe there are certain "vested interests" out there that do not want Elon's electric vehicle to succeed.

        3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          I have no interest in Tesla either way. I neither own a vehicle nor any stock nor any derivatives. The company is simply built on very shaky finances (especially after the SolarCity deal) and has lost the first-mover nimbus.

    2. Chris 3

      With Musk, him saying something "ages ago" and then reiterating it with a few months to go is news

  2. Chris Miller

    Will it be before or after Virgin Galactic take their first paying passengers into space?

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

    Then they can raise the prices considerably and even stop selling cars once the Tesla Network is up and running.

    Owning a Tesla will be a thing of the past in 2-4 years.

    RoboTaxi's is where it is at... well at least in Elon's mind that is and a that of a whole load of his disciples.

    want to own an EV? Look elsewhere as Tesla won't be available there apart from secondhand ones.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

      ... er, not it's most emphatically NOT.

      Mainly because taxis are workaday non-premium vehicles (and taxi drivers are tight as a gnats chuff anyway) which isn't the "brand" Tesla want to project.

      That said, the best place for electric autonomous vehicles IS as city centre taxis. Firstly the terrain would be constant within the operational area (so much easier to program for), secondly there's actually a need to clear human-driven cars out of city centres, thirdly (city dependent) there's a 24/7 usage potential. With the added bonus that range becomes far less of an issue.

      It's be measuring such factors against the reality of what's being developed that people such as myself have worked out what is hype, and what is not.

      The fact that not a single UK city has even started looking into such things (whatever they say, it's my job to know what they're doing, and believe me, they're not) speaks volumes about the entire self-driving car project.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

        Tesla is going to do this in the USA first and then roll it out all over the world.

        If you peruse any of the Pro-Tesla blogs (for example https://electrek.co/ you will soon see what Musk and his disciples are planning. It is all there for anyone to read.

        A model 3 will apparently earn $100K per year as a roboTaxi. What's not to like about that eh? Spend $35K + Autopilot and get all that money back inside 6 months!

        If the dinosaur councils in the UK are not planning for this sort of thing then that is there lookout.

        Personally, I hated driving a Model 3 when I rented one in LA. But that's not the point. The point is self-driving personal electric transport that costs £0.20p per mile. No driving licence or insurance needed either. A win-win for Tesla is it not?

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

          Personally, I hated driving a Model 3 when I rented one in LA. But that's not the point. The point is self-driving personal electric transport that costs £0.20p per mile. No driving licence or insurance needed either. A win-win for Tesla is it not?

          Out of interest, what didn't you like about the Model 3?

          As for win-win, that may depend on the first lawsuits for injuries caused by Teslas hitting things, or injuring passenges. There's a lot of ambulance chasers who may be salivating at the prospect of those cases.

          Rest I guess is how JohnnyCabs will be structured. So who owns the vehicle, who insures it for-hire and who collects the money & litigation. Or just who/how the cabs are de-vomited over weekend business. Uber's kinda showed how it's possible, ie a Tesla app for booking, and a revenue split that may or may not be good.. So usual trick is to extract the cash and leave the cab owner liable for insurance, valeting, servicing etc.

          I'm also curious how it'd fit with UK drink driving laws, ie you're drunk in the vehicle, you're nicked. I'm also curious about how well (or safe) autopilot would be on older Teslas when they may not have all the sensors that newer models do.

          1. Benson's Cycle

            Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

            I suspect cleaning and basic maintenance will be a work-from-home opportunity for anyone with a driveway and a free space.

            One interesting possibility for a large fleet of identical EVs is the return of the one man garage. The main replacements are going to be tyres, brake parts, coolant (batteries and motors need to be cooled), and perhaps a filter or two.

            It would be efficient to have lots of people providing that kind of service, and the number of spares they would need to hold would be minimal.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

              It would be efficient to have lots of people providing that kind of service, and the number of spares they would need to hold would be minimal.

              Yep. Tesla may have changed it's position on 3rd party servicing. Rich Rebuilds on YT has been doing some great stuff with Tesla teardowns, and his.. challenges getting service/support from Tesla. But he's opening his new garage, and apparently Tesla reps will be there to promote stuff. He's also nabbed an ex-Tesla engineer who's been providing a lot of insight. Like taking apart a large fuse to show how that worked. Which I guess is also the challenge for garages, ie going from 'simple' 12V systems to Tesla's high power components, which could easily fry the unwary mechanic.

              (now back to earthquake conspiracies.. epicentre inside China Lake. Sneaky test of the MOAB Mk2, or fun with their large geothermal plant.. )

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

                " or fun with their large geothermal plant.. )"

                There haven't been that many earthquakes in the Coso Volcanic Field. The USGS is keeping a close eye, but all seems pretty normal.

            2. rg287 Silver badge

              Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

              One interesting possibility for a large fleet of identical EVs is the return of the one man garage. The main replacements are going to be tyres, brake parts, coolant (batteries and motors need to be cooled), and perhaps a filter or two.

              Not even a one man garage - a man-with-van.

              Most of Tesla's annual servicing is done on the driveway by mobile service techs. Maybe they'll grow that themselves, but there could also be a franchise or "Approved Tesla Technician" opportunity there. There are very few things that require you to actually get under the car for or would require a garage with a lift.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why didn't I like the Model 3?

            The Minimalism of the interior. There is nothing but the screen that looks like it was an eleventh hour add on rather than integrated like on the Model S.

            Almost everything is done via the screen. To me that is a huge distraction.

            As an EV it is ok. It does not go around corners anywhere near as well as my I-Pace. You slide about on the seats.

            Finally, the opening to the boot is tiny and... well after years of Hatchbacks and estates I found it a backward step. Why they could not have engineered the Model Y earlier and have it available now, I don't know. Not everyone wants to go back to a saloon/sedan shape.

            IT is clearly built down to a price. It is described as a luxury car in the USA. It isn't.

            I drove it for almost 1000 miles so I had a good chance to try everything out. I found it very nannying. Nowhere near as much fun to drive as my Jag.

            I sceptical about not well the Robotaxi concept will work in the UK. Clearly, a lot of Californains/Musk disciples think it is the greatest thing that could ever happen. I don't. As you say, there are lots of pitfalls and liability issues that need to be worked out. that will take years despite what Musk is promising.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Why didn't I like the Model 3?

              The Minimalism of the interior. There is nothing but the screen that looks like it was an eleventh hour add on rather than integrated like on the Model S.

              Almost everything is done via the screen. To me that is a huge distraction.

              As an EV it is ok. It does not go around corners anywhere near as well as my I-Pace. You slide about on the seats.,

              Cheers.. I guess the styling's a bit like Marmite, ie you love it or hate it. Some rave about the minimalist aesthetics & novelty features.. Me, I guess I'm old fashioned and prefer switches. I agree the screen placement is a bit jarring, but possibly done to make it easier to offer LHD/RHD varients. Some of the rest I guess is technology changing, and manufacturers producing vehicles for the smart-phone era. But I like the old combination of muscle memory & tactile feedback switchgear provides compared to touch screens.

              On handling, I guess that may be a strength/weakness of EVs, namely they're heavy. So having the battery packs low gives a lower centre of gravity/mass, but the weight is still going to give suspension & steering a hard time. So will the UK's potholes and traffic calming/shock busting measures. That I guess would feed into TCO and ROI calculations for use as a cab vs a more traditional Merc diesel.

              I guess there's also some potential fun with cab use, so fitting in with current regs for taxi meters. Tesla's tech should be able to demonstrate it's sensors/tracking is as good, if not better than current meters.

              Finally, the opening to the boot is tiny and... well after years of Hatchbacks and estates I found it a backward step. Why they could not have engineered the Model Y earlier and have it available now, I don't know. Not everyone wants to go back to a saloon/sedan shape.

              Well, there's always the Model X.. but £150k. The Y looks like it addresses some of those issues, but some are probably due to the need to cram in batteries, dual motors and all the other stuff that goes into a modern car. Which also means more weight & volume than a comparable ICE. There may also be the usual timing issues, so when the Model 3 was being designed, a sedan probably seemed like a good idea. But now the market's shifted to people wanting full size or compact SUVs. Which means the Model Y's cannibalising Model 3 sales, and the Y's going to be competing with cars like Jaguar's I-Pace, which I think is a much better looking car.

              I suspect that also feeds into practicality as a cab. So Models S/X/Y being better for typical station or airport runs where there's luggage to pack, and the 3 for weekend boozers. But that also means the ROI's going to look worse for any prospective cab operator.

        2. DougS Silver badge

          Just because Tesla "wants" it

          Doesn't mean it will happen anytime soon. Anyone who believes Musk's insane bullshit about having self driving robo taxis next year is going to be sorely disappointed. Anyone recommending their council plan for cars driving around town picking up passengers on their own is at least a decade ahead of reality.

          Sure if you peruse "pro Tesla blogs" they will talk about this because they're dumb enough to believe their lord and savior. When it doesn't happen they'll find someone to blame, Musk is good at blaming others when things don't go his way.

        3. IGotOut

          Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

          "If the dinosaur councils in the UK are not planning for this sort of thing then that is there lookout."

          Until councils have the power to prevent rain, fog and snow, I don't think they need worry about self driving taxis quite yet.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

          "The point is self-driving personal electric transport that costs £0.20p per mile."

          That seems *really* high (my 15 year old diesel costs *half* that...) ...

          1. jmch Silver badge

            Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

            ""The point is self-driving personal electric transport that costs £0.20p per mile."

            That seems *really* high (my 15 year old diesel costs *half* that...) ..."

            I'm not sure if that's high or low, but keep in mind that from the point of view of a taxi service they have to include higher wear and tear (shorter life, greater depreciation), higher insurance (business vs personal) and probably additional liability insurance and contingency for lawsuits etc. I don't know if any or all of that is included in the £0.20/mile estimate

        5. Stork Silver badge

          Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

          By when will they cope with pedestrians and cyclists? May not be a big issue in the US, is in Europe.

          Oh, and then there's the small issue of electricity generation and distribution if EVs really take off

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

        "The fact that not a single UK city has even started looking into such things (whatever they say, it's my job to know what they're doing, and believe me, they're not) speaks volumes about the entire self-driving car project."

        Considering the financial position most Councils in the UK, is it any surprise that no one is spending time or money, let alone paying for feasibility studies on something which doesn't exist yet. At least it shows they aren't wasting money on chasing the AI/EV self-driving rainbows. Many are, on the other hand, looking at ways to curb the numbers and type of vehicles in city centres due to pollution concerns and the threat of a big stick from central Gov.

      3. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

        not a single UK city has even started looking into such things

        Better public transport and proper provision for cycling would make much more sense than robotaxis in most cities. Local authorities outside London are pretty constrained about what they can do about those already, so don't expect them to be rushing to transform themselves into Orbit City clones.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

          "Better public transport"

          The biggest problem is no one wants to run loss-making or low-proft routes. This is what "competition" has brought. You can only ever have a consolidated transport system so that the highly profitable routes can subsidise the remaining routes. Then you have to remember that, even during rush hour, not everyone wants to travel from a suburb to the centre. Buses which don't travel to/from the centre as their only objective tend to wind and wander all over town, taking ages to get from one place to another. Often the ony option is to oin the crowds heading for the city centre, then change to another bus to get to the part of the city you really want to get to, such as office/industrial/shopping parks.

        2. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

          not a single UK city has even started looking into such things

          UK Autodrive has been trialling robo taxis in Milton Keynes and Coventry.

      4. vtcodger Silver badge

        Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

        That said, the best place for electric autonomous vehicles IS as city centre taxis

        Reasonable, but you are assuming that the problem of driving an autonomous vehicle safely is fairly easily solved. In fact, it probably is not. Centre city driving looks to be one of the most difficult situations for an autonomous vehicle. Too many things going on. A truly safe vehicle would probably look around, assess the probable hazards, stop, and wait until the wee hours of the morning before proceeding (slowly and cautiously) to its destination.

        My guess is that it'll be DECADES before an autonomous city centre taxi with an acceptable body count can be built. Expressways, OTOH, are much less complex driving situations if the occasional problems (bad signage, misleading road stripes, weather, construction, etc etc etc) can be handled. My expectation is that Tesla's semi will, if Musk can manage not miss his performance promises by too much, be the company's first successful autonomous vehicle.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

          if the occasional problems (bad signage, misleading road stripes, weather, construction, etc etc etc) can be handled

          I happen to own a neural net I trained myself (with a bit of help over the first couple decades) that is still occasionally confused by bad signage, misleading road stripes, construction, etc. so good luck seeing 100% autonomous vehicles within the next decade, if in our lifetime.

          The best we can hope for are vehicles that are autonomous but when they get into trouble contact a "support center" where a human will slowly/carefully remotely drive them through the confusing situation. Getting 99.99% of the expressway miles will be easy - heck we are probably already there. Its that last .01% that (literally) kills you. Or maybe doesn't kill you very often, but drives you into wet cement, or off a 18" drop off into a construction area, or whatever.

          I doubt we see level 5 in my lifetime. Level 4.9 or so maybe, where "things that occasionally confuse a human today will require help from humans for the foreseeable future" is a given.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

        "Mainly because taxis are workaday non-premium vehicles (and taxi drivers are tight as a gnats chuff anyway) "

        I used to think that. But there are some E-series Mercedes, 5-series BMW, Audi A4, and Audi A6 taxis around here. All under 3 years old.

      6. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

        " the best place for electric autonomous vehicles IS as city centre taxis. Firstly the terrain would be constant within the operational area "

        Not sure what you mean by that. The actual operational terrain in a city is a constant shift of mini- and maxi-roadworks, delivery vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, tons of lights, signs and miscellaneous city artifacts, litter on the streets or blowing about through the air... In other words a city centre is probably one of the worst places for the first deployment of self-driving vehicles, given that they can currently barely navigate a motorway which from a driving perspective is much simpler.

        " the added bonus that range becomes far less of an issue"

        au contraire, a taxi that is in constant use will clock up the miles very quickly. Say you have an 18-hour shift with 6 hours for charging and cleaning / minor maintenance. Constantly on-duty taxi will be averaging 20-30km/h, so would need 360-540 km range on a charge. More if it's using A/C heavily (which it would if it's deployed anywhere where the temperature is below 15C or above 25C), and even less if lots of stop/start driving reduces efficiency (I don't really know about that, anyone can fill in?). So it could be just about doable I guess, but more likely you would have it in service something like 12-14 hours a day. You DO have the advantage of 7 days a week except for whenever it needs servicing. (but actually, 14 hour day, 7 days a week on most weeks sounds like a human taxi driver to me )

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

          "Say you have an 18-hour shift with 6 hours for charging and cleaning / minor maintenance. Constantly on-duty taxi will be averaging 20-30km/h, so would need 360-540 km range on a charge."

          I'd put a range estimate at around 250km. There is all of the getting in/out, bags, queuing and other non-drive time that lowers the average speed throughout a shift. Also, getting 18 hours of bookings/day would be pretty awesome for any taxi.

      7. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

        Pointing out that taxi's are not premium equipped vehicles is important. It's also better if they have an expanded passenger compartment to accommodate hand luggage, briefcases and backpacks. The sorts of things that people using public transportation often have yet aren't large enough to bother with putting them in the boot. Taxi interiors get a lot of abuse so it's best if they are made of materials that hold up to being hosed off for those occasions where the passenger isn't feeling their best (or their pets are having digestive issues).

        The current EV London Black Cabs are a good foundation for an autonomous taxi is they have the space for a large computer. Google's dirty little secret is their AVs have a hyper-accurate surveyed map onboard. That's fine for a large city centre, but certainly not level 5 and it does take room. Not a problem for inner city runs. For a trip to the airport with big luggage, an AV may not have the room for people plus stuff.

        A Tesla isn't a good candidate for use as a taxi. They are premium vehicles. For a private car service that caters to upscale clients, they can work fine, but not good for riders that like to carve their initials or pithy prose into every available hard surface. I certainly wouldn't want to find a bunch of stickers plastered in the back seat area of my car. The same goes for handbill holders with cards for clubs, etc that get glued in from promotors during a short ride. That 3M VHB double sided tape is nearly impossible to remove cleanly.

    2. JM987

      I like the idea

      With all the talk of self driving taxi's, has anyone thought of who will be recharging all of these vehicles? Sure, you decide to go in the office with a fully charged battery, let the car be used as a Taxi while you're working for 8 hours, get back, your car is parked somewhere near by with an almost empty battery... Wonder how long the line ups will be at the quick charge station.....

      1. 404 Silver badge

        Re: I like the idea

        I was considering what you would do if you have to leave unexpectedly - like to go get your kid from school when they get sick etc - and your car is gone.

        Don't like the idea - getting your car back all vomited in or worse...

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: I like the idea

          Personal self-driving cars don't have to be part of a taxi net. It'd be an optional choice you could do to make money. For those who don't need the money and value immediate access to the vehicle, it wouldn't be a very good use case. It'd be sort of the same as allowing people to rent out your normal car if there was a convenient way to let them in, which doesn't sound like a popular program idea to me.

          If this were attempted, there would likely be a requirement for dedicated vehicles for that service. In that case, I assume there would be charging stations located throughout the service area. When a car was low on power it would remove itself from the network, drive to charge, and only put itself back online when it had charged. Whenever there were gaps in traffic where more cars were available than in demand, the cars with the lowest charge would drive themselves to the charging stations as well.

          1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

            Re: I like the idea

            there seems to be this Utopian model that has gotten into the Musk Disciples where the sun always shines, there is no crime and robot vehicles whizz around the streets earning their owners oodles of money while they play computer games all day. Perhaps there is something in the water in Southern California that has caused this mental illness?

            Now matter what perfectly valid arguments you put forward as to why this idea won't work everywhere, they will not listen. The put their collective fingers in their ears and shout that they can't hear you. Unless it comes out of the mouth of their messiah, Elon Musk it is just Fake News and you are probably a Shorter of TSLA stock as well.

            Cynical? Yes I am. But not owning a Tesla and never planning to own one (or lease etc) but as an owner of an EV that is NOT a Tesla, causes a lot of hate in to be sent my direction. Sometimes it feels like they think I worship another diety when I should be kneeling down and praying 5 times a day to Elon Musk, the saviour of the Universe. Oh, that's Flash Gordon isn't it? :)

            /s /s /s /s /s

            It is a cult that is a million times worse than the cult of Jobs aka Apple.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: I like the idea

        "Wonder how long the line ups will be at the quick charge station....."

        Any autonomous taxi will need to have it's own charging facility that's either wireless or has a human attendant to plug and unplug cars. I've seen a demo of a robot plugger, but it didn't have much latitude in positioning and if it's sensors fall out of calibration, a high priced tech would have to come out and reset it.

        Fast charging is a premium service. It might be much more cost effective to have most taxis charging at slower rates during the wee hours.

    3. Oh Matron!

      Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

      I cycle along with A3 in London every day, and, unless His Muskyness as the most incredible AI and ML, this is exactly what will happen to every Teslaxi (copyright me): https://youtu.be/rCUYMM6pABw?t=12 when it encounters a flock / herd / murder of cyclists

      Good luck.

    4. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Self Driving RoboTaxis is what Tesla want ASAP

      "Self Driving RoboTaxis" is certainly what they are NOT going to be.

      What they are calling "Autopilot" is a glorified combination of cruise control and staying in lane.

      What they are calling "Full self driving" is a combination of cruise control / staying in lane + ability to autonomously change lanes on a highway, plus self-parking. Self-parking isn't even a premium feature any longer (I remember seeing it advertised for both Ford and Nissan more than a year ago).

      In other words, they're doing what every other manufacturer is doing (to be fair, maybe slightly ahead in a few regards), with the major difference being (a) over-optimistic marketing spiel and (b) highly enthusiastic deployment

  4. Pink Duck
    Thumb Up

    Looking forward to it

    If it actually means their AutoPilot system will adhere to speed limits with the freed up space for calculation potential for neural net identification of objects, unlike their latest FSD demonstration drive that broke the speed limit several times due to out-of-date limits database. Given Elon time, expect this for H2 2020.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Looking forward to it

      "out-of-date limits database."

      I don't believe Teslas as they exist today, will ever be self-driving. They rely too much on the surroundings matching the data. Data on road networks is always out of date and Teslas don't have the full 360o "awareness" that will be required. After all, it relied on a database to know the speed limits and not the actual posted signs. My SatNav gets regular mapping updates and it still doesn't know all of the speed limits on all of the roads.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Looking forward to it

        A car that can't even tell when it is going to run into a semi trailer crossing the road (twice) or a stationary fire truck clearly needs some upgrades to its software even for its forward vision, let alone 360* awareness.

      2. I.Geller Bronze badge

        "Awareness" at 360 degrees

        ...rely too much on the surroundings matching the data. Teslas don't have the full 360o "awareness" that will be required...

        Tesla can get that kind of "awareness", only the addition of visual sensors is required. Then, having a sufficiently large number of textual descriptions which are tied to all possible types of signals (ladars, visual, sound, etc.), Tesla may search in its AI database for specific commands (AI database should contain structured (into patterns) texts, where the patterns make Tesla's programs for unmanned vehicles).

        The technology was few weeks ago tested by Microsoft, which has significantly improved the MT-DNN approach to NLU, and finally surpassed the estimate for human performance on the overall average score on GLUE (87.6 vs. 87.1) on June 6, 2019. AI database exists!

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: "Awareness" at 360 degrees

          "Tesla can get that kind of "awareness", only the addition of visual sensors is required."

          "only"???? Yeah, I'm sure that Tesla owners will be impressed by having to glue extra cameras all over the car, then drill holes and run wires down the insides. No, wireless cameras won't cut it either. Power issues.

          1. 404 Silver badge

            Re: "Awareness" at 360 degrees

            Stick a mast on that bad boy... like the Apple & Google Maps cars lol...

            1. I.Geller Bronze badge

              Re: "Awareness" at 360 degrees

              Yeah, it's just incredibly difficult. I, for example, am amazed that Google, Tesla and the others got into THIS. It can be done. yes. But YEARS and YEARS of hard labor! Crazy investments!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Awareness" at 360 degrees

          I suggest you all watch the presentation given by Musk a couple of months back when the new hardware, and the way the package works, was discussed in detail. Many of the comments on Tesla's self driving capabilities, present and future, are directly contradicted by what Musk and senior Tesla engineers have gone on record as saying.

          You don't like Tesla, fine. I'm not entirely keen on everything that Musk is doing. But at least discuss it from an informed perspective rather than spouting random ill-informed garbage that is easily refuted by a video of what was a shareholder's meeting. Riffing off-script to sound impressive, or misleading shareholders, was not an option for anyone or the financial authorities would have called. Again.

        3. Baldrickk Silver badge

          Re: "Awareness" at 360 degrees

          Tesla can get that kind of "awareness", only the addition of visual sensors is required.

          But isn't autopilot a primarily visual system already?

          1. I.Geller Bronze badge

            The only universal interface

            The question is rather what exactly Tesla does and can do with the visual information obtained through its sensors. That is, how is this part of the whole array of information compatible with the rest? I proposed to reduce all information - and, in particular, obtained in a visual way - to texts, as the only universal interface which allows

            - unite all information on a single platform,

            - search and find the needed updates as the received directly from texts (in some sense) programs,

            - and delete the old on the basis of feedback.

    2. Gonzo wizard
      FAIL

      "out of date limits database"

      Um... I'm a passenger in a Model S a couple of times a week and your information is not entirely correct. Teslas 'read' the speed limit signs on the roadside. Occasionally they miss one and so end up continuing to do 50 in a 40 limit (for example) until the next speed limit sign. My neighbour's car happily started doing 20 in the 20 limits around West London the day the signs appeared.

      Database, even if it exists, is a secondary thing and roadsigns are most definitely the higher priority.

      1. 404 Silver badge

        Re: "out of date limits database"

        > Occasionally they miss one...

        There's your problem right there - it shouldn't miss anything at all - whole point of self-driving, yeah?

        1. I.Geller Bronze badge

          Re: "out of date limits database"

          Nothing will be missed! This is the AI database, I created it specifically to no information was lost. I guarantee it!

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: "out of date limits database"

            All the car makers have this sign reading thing, it's not even very new.

            They are very good at reading the signs but sometimes they read the signs on a close parallel road (try southbound A1 Sandy, Beds for a good example) and get it wrong. Othertimes the foliage grows over the sign or it will be behind a lorry that you are passing. Humans miss them like this too.

            The GPS map does cross check though, and comes up with a red sign.

  5. Starace Silver badge
    Alert

    Another Musk lie

    He also claims that all cars have been built with the new hardware for the past couple of months. Yet customers are still getting new (June built) cars with the old hardware.

    For any Musk statement assume a 30% chance that it contains any truth at all, and then assume that if it contains any truth it will be something other than you expect.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Another Musk lie

      Its a good thing he wouldn't be eligible to run for president of the United States, he seems to fit the qualifications that nearly half the electorate find desirable.

      1. mics39

        Re: Another Musk lie

        After the present one anything is possible. Including amoeba not from this earth.

      2. vtcodger Silver badge

        Re: Another Musk lie

        Without denying Elon's occasional failures of candor, he'd surely be an improvement. He at least has organizational skills. And he'd probably notice if he found himself babbling to the assembled multitudes about how the American revolutionists siezed the airports from their British oppressors in 1775. Yes, the Donald actually did that Thursday last https://time.com/5620936/donald-trump-revolutionary-war-airports/

        1. DougS Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Another Musk lie

          Hey the Battle of Baggage Claim was one of General Washington's greatest victories over the redcoats, don't let those damn Brits try to pretend like it never happened!

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Another Musk lie

            I don't think he can be president of the USA due to being South African.

  6. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
    Terminator

    FSD includes self-parking and driving automatically on highways.

    Aside from the M25, I really can't see the need for self-parking on highways.

    1. Benson's Cycle

      Re: FSD includes self-parking and driving automatically on highways.

      And the M5/M6 interchange. London isn't the only place where demonically possessed motorways are to be found, you know.

  7. Howard Hanek Bronze badge
    Happy

    Tesla Clothing Line

    Tesla really needs to add a NOMEX based clothing line to add to the driving experience.

    1. Benson's Cycle

      Re: Tesla Clothing Line

      It'll be cotton, but if you pay an extra $3000 up front it will be converted to fully fire retardant as soon as the bugs are ironed out.

  8. spold Bronze badge

    Optional extras

    Coming soon a whole range of other shared driving chip upgrade options including.... observational empathy chip....

    "We are stuck in traffic - this sucks I know we are both exhausted, shall I black out the windscreen to make it less stressful?"

    "Oh dear another tree jumped out and hit us, that's the third this week! I blame those tree-huggers, shall we run some over?"

    "Oh your seat is not comfortable? You can complain! What with this beeping bumpy road my shock-absorbers are really giving me gyp!"

    Maybe.... Road rage chip - "what's he doing? your're welcome! suck my tailpipe moron <honk> <honk>"

    Genuine People Personalities chip?.... 'nuf said.

    1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

      Re: Optional extras

      Or better still, Clippy: 'Heeey! it looks like you're driving a car!'

  9. I.Geller Bronze badge

    All the hardware Tesla has is useless unless Tesla learns to remove lexical noise from texts, which is the imperative condition for AI to exist. Indeed, the AI answers questions, finding their answers in texts. If Tesla wants AI - it can get AI only if it knows how to purge wrong patterns.

    Microsoft sucessefuly purges the wrong patterns based on "antecedent candidates". That is, Microsoft compares the preceded synonymous clusters with this, and purges those patterns which are not in common (before that, of course Microsoft used dictionary detecting the right parts of speech and definitions on words). And as you can see Microsoft has significantly improved the MT-DNN approach to NLU, and finally surpassed the estimate for human performance on the overall score on GLUE (87.6 vs. 87.1) on June 6, 2019 - Microsoft knows how to convert texts into their structured representation.

    Having this my patented technology of lexical noise removing Tesla can get from all texts all their synonymous clusters/ structure them; where the clusters are the direct analogue for programming language commands. And as the result Tesla can use AI to control its driverless cars. That is everyday language can be structured and becomes a kind of programming language, controls robots.

    However, there are companies like OpenAI which ignore or even don't know that lexical noise exist. They don't strive to cleanser the wrong patterns and their technology, therefore, is absolute useless.

    1. Benson's Cycle

      Shouldn't you be pitching this to venture capitalists, not posting it on an IT comment section dedicated to the snarky?

      1. I.Geller Bronze badge

        Useless, they all exist on the money of those who AI technology kills, that is all IT leaders. I tried for 10 years.

  10. J27 Bronze badge

    I love how they've redefined "full self driving" to mean advanced cruise and parking assist.

  11. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Joke

    Intel?

    If, Intel supplied the chip...

    Pentium OverSelfDrive

  12. TsVk!

    Back to the Future?

    Looks like an updated Delorian. Maybe that was the plan.

  13. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
    Trollface

    Autonomous taxi?

    Looking at it superficially, most recent big USA cities are built on a grid pattern which should be possible to program for and as long as a taxi was restricted to this clearly defined area then it could be made to work.

    Support from the local authorities to keep mapping and temporary road restrictions up to date, Google Maps style cameras to continually monitor local conditions and update a central database, and probably a net of data transmitters on local street furniture (5G?) to maintain real time awareness of traffic conditions could make this viable.

    Reduce the vehicle footprint to match the tiny cars from Japan and thus reduce both road occupancy and increase ease of finding curb/kerb space and you could have viable autonomous transport.

    Outside that very limited environment, especially in old European towns and villages, you have a whole different level of problem.

    Unsuitable infrastructure and no money to update it.

    Almost certainly not enough revenue to justify the service provider funding upgrades to the infrastructure.

    So the second reasonable target is enhanced long journey cruise control on major routes. Again a reasonably well defined target with limited variables.

    Again there is the requirement for accurate data including traffic and roadworks problems.

    The major routes would also benefit from autonomous only lanes to prioritise organised traffic flow.

    There is, of course, the range problem for electric vehicles.

    Again for it to work efficiently there are infrastructure costs to be funded.

    In all of this I don't see Tesla having a massive advantage over conventional vehicles with enhanced cruise control except in city centres where the infrastructure could be effectively redeveloped to allow only small footprint electric autonomous vehicles, bicycles (including electric) and pedestrians. However Tesla doesn't seem to be developing a suitable vehicle at the moment.

    As an additional point, any redevelopment costs need to be weighed against redevelopment to just restrict city centres to public transport and specially designed service vehicles. Which then raises potential issues for anyone living in the centre, of course, which in turn requires more infrastructure for storage/transfer points to more conventional transport.

    So I don't see a Tesla based solution coming to a town near me any time soon.

    There will be enough problems trying to recycle all the petrol/diesel vehicles off the roads to reduce emissions without more massive infrastructure development in a continuing climate of austerity coupled with cheap labour, which incidentally is why providers such as Uber are making specially designed vehicles such as the London Taxi less relevant.

    1. MJB7 Bronze badge

      Re: Most recent big USA cities are built on a grid pattern

      This is not actually true. I picked Omaha, Nebraska - which I happen to know was small enough at the start of the 20th Century that it suffered exactly one casualty in the First World War. (That is about the same as most three-house hamlets in the UK or Germany.)

      It is true that *most* of the roads are straight and run due East-West or North-South - but there are plenty of roads that don't run like that. I doubt you can find a single city in the USA that doesn't have at least one curved or diagonal road.

      (And of course the problem with city centres is not the odd roads, it's the parked lorries and the children running from their parents.)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The new chip has been internally codenamed as MCAS737MAX

  15. Peter Ford

    Forget about autonomy

    It's 2019 - where's my flying car?

    Seriously, autonomous flying vehicles would be a lot easier than trying to avoid all the clutter at street level.

    So, vertical take-off from your driveway, fly to the nearest highway/motorway and then autonomous driving from there.

    Might need some improvements in battery energy density though...

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Re: Forget about autonomy

      Battery energy density is the least concern with viability of flying cars.

      Much more pressing concern would be that the clutter at street level would just be replicated at all levels above, and any of the (inevitable) collisions would end up raining debris onto the streets below

  16. Big Al 23

    Does Musk guarantee that autopilot won't crash the car?

  17. DrXym Silver badge

    "Full self driving"

    The term implies autonomy but it won't be that or anything close possibly ever. At best it'll probably take some drudgery out of stop / start traffic and other questionable functions like auto summon in a parking *lot* (i.e. not an underground or multistory carpark). I wonder how many people forking out for this upgrade realise that.

    1. I.Geller Bronze badge

      Re: "Full self driving"

      If I had the funding I would have done it. It's mostly routine work, the technology itself is easy.

      1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

        Re: "Full self driving"

        But you don't and you haven't.

        Could it be that the technology isn't so easy and that you are deluding yourself?

        Suggestion:

        Scrounge together enough money to make an impressive proof-of-concept. As an example, Steve Jobs sold his bus to get Apple going back in the mid-1970s.

        Since the technology is easy, it shouldn't be too hard to make one. Once you have displayed this impressive proof-of-concept to all and sundry, start up a Kickstarter or Patreon to get more serious funding.

        If the technology is as easy as you claim, then there will be many on this site at least who will be, very, very interested.

        1. I.Geller Bronze badge

          Re: "Full self driving"

          This is my technology:

          Microsoft’s MT-DNN Achieves Human Performance Estimate on General Language Understanding Evaluation (GLUE) Benchmark

          https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/stevengu/2019/06/20/microsoft-achieves-human-performance-estimate-on-glue-benchmark/

          What else do you need?

          I already once invested everything, in 2002. Read NIST TREC?

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019