Please consider Tesla Says Robotaxis Coming to U.S. Roads Next Year, Slams Rivals' Use of Lidar.

Chief Executive Elon Musk said Tesla Inc robotaxis with no human drivers would be available in some U.S. markets next year, continuing a habit of bold pronouncements that have excited many investors while often missing deadlines.

“Probably two years from now we’ll make a car with no steering wheels or pedals,” Musk predicted, while acknowledging he is often late to meet aggressive targets.

Central to this promise is a new microchip for self-driving vehicles unveiled by Musk on Monday during a webcast presentation. Made by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd in Texas, the chip now in all vehicles is hoped to give Tesla an edge over rivals and show its massive investment in autonomous driving - described by Musk as “basically our entire expense structure” - will pay off.

“The fundamental message consumers should be taking away today is it’s financially insane to buy something other than a Tesla. It’s like buying a horse,” saying Tesla was the only company to have a full self-driving suite of hardware.

“A year from now we’ll have over a million cars with full self-driving, software, everything,” Musk predicted.

Tesla Tracker

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The above chart courtesy of Bloomberg's Tesla Tracker updated April 22, 2019.

By sending digital requests to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, we can get a good picture of how many VINs have been registered for Model 3s at any given time. We track the number of VINs between batch registrations and use the number of intervening days to estimate a production rate.

There are limits to this method. Automakers register VINs in large batches that anticipate coming production, which means that numbers will be assigned before a new car starts its journey down the assembly line. There’s theoretically no limit to the number of VINs Tesla might register in a batch.

Production vs Targets

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Crash Record

Tesla's crash record shows its software is not remotely reliable.

For discussion, please consider the LA Times report An agency hid Tesla crash data for nearly two years. Is that any way to build trust in driverless cars?

In May 2016, when Tesla’s Autopilot — a so-called Level 2 system that legally requires constant human attention — drove a car under a semi truck crossing the highway, decapitating the driver. NHTSA investigated the accident. The driver was inattentive, the agency concluded in a January 2017 report, and the Autopilot technology was not to blame — even though the system could not tell the difference between the silvery side of the trailer truck and an overcast sky.

In March 2018, after a Tesla driver was killed when Autopilot drove the car into a concrete barrier, Tesla posted a response on its website that included a reference to the NHTSA study: “Over a year ago, our first iteration of Autopilot was found by the U.S. government to reduce crash rates by as much as 40%. Internal data confirms that recent updates to Autopilot have improved system reliability.”

For the small minority of cars for which mileage data were provided both before and after Autosteer was installed, Teslas were involved in 60% more crashes, Whitfield [ R.A. Whitfield, director of Quality Control Systems Corp. and an expert in statistics] calculated. That could mean cars with Autosteer were more dangerous than cars without.

The exercise makes clear that NHTSA’s conclusions are “not well founded,” he said.

Tesla's self-driving ability is behind Uber which in turn is far behind Waymo.

Musk's claim that Tesla is the "only company to have a full self-driving suite of hardware" is absurd.

Elon Musk's promises are a joke.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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