Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has been touting the prospect of a self-driving car for years, but it has yet to come to fruition. Nevertheless, Musk recently shared that the automaker’s next-gen vehicle will operate in fully autonomous mode.
During a recent appearance at a Morgan Stanley conference, Musk briefly mentioned that the vehicles based on Tesla’s next-gen platform would be “almost entirely in autonomous mode,” implying that human drivers will rarely need to be behind the wheel.
Tesla announced its plan to build a new vehicle platform that would be more efficient to manufacture during its Investor Day last week. Still, many people were disappointed that the company did not provide details on the vehicle models that would be based on the new platform.
However, Musk’s comments about the cars operating almost entirely in autonomous mode indicate that Tesla is focusing on building purpose-built autonomous vehicles.
This approach has raised concerns among people who bought Tesla cars after Musk promised that the automaker would make all vehicles built since 2016 “full self-driving” through software updates. Some Tesla buyers paid between $5,000 and $15,000, believing the automaker would eventually deliver on that promise. However, as per the automaker’s own admission, Tesla has only delivered a level 2 driver assist system, known as “Full Self-Driving Beta” (FSD Beta).
The FSD Beta program has been stagnant for months, with little to no significant updates for most people in the program. While the company claims that it still plans to deliver on that promise, some owners are beginning to have doubts as Tesla shifts its focus to building purpose-built autonomous vehicles like the “robotaxi” and introduces a new Autopilot Self-Driving hardware suite on new vehicles that it will not retrofit.
Musk’s recent comments about the next-gen vehicle operating almost entirely in autonomous mode are exciting, but they also raise concerns among some Tesla owners who paid for a feature that has yet to materialize. Nevertheless, Musk remains wildly optimistic, and only time will tell if Tesla can live up to its promises.