It hasn’t even been a week since Tesla hosted its AI Day, a livestreamed event full of technical jargon meant to snare the choicest of AI and vision engineers to come work for Tesla and help the company achieve autonomous greatness, and already CEO Elon Musk is coming in with some hot takes about the “Full Self-Driving” (FSD) tech.
Musk tweeted Tuesday: FSD Beta 9.2 was actually not great, but Autopilot/AI is working hard to make it better. Although we are trying to create a single tech stack that can be used on both the highway and city streets, it will require massive [neural network] training.
It is very important. This sentiment is shared by many others working in autonomous spaces. Kodiak Robotics’ co-founder and CEO Don Burnette says that his company is primarily focused on trucking at the moment, as it is a simpler problem to solve. In a recent Extra Crunch interview, Burnette said:
Our tech has a unique feature: it can be tailored to a particular goal. It’s not a constant requirement to maintain high truck highway performance and high density urban passenger car performance all in the same stack. Although it is theoretically possible to find a universal solution that works for all types of driving, it is much more difficult.
Tesla uses only optical cameras and scorns radar. Therefore, it is not surprising that Tesla considers “massive” neural networks training a necessity.
We all have sympathy for the vision and AI teams that are undoubtedly feeling upset by Musk’s tweet. However, this moment is one of Musk’s greatest moments of clarity. Normally, Tesla news is filtered through a sophisticated BS meter that beeps with each mention of “Full Self Driving” technology. This isn’t full self-driving, but it does provide advanced driver assistance which could be used to improve autonomy.
Musk responded to the tweet with a statement that he had just driven the FSD Beta 9.3 between Pasadena and LAX. It was a much better ride! Should we purchase it? Musk never loses his optimism. Musk stated that Tesla would release new FSD versions every other week at midnight California Time. He then promised Beta 9.2 would “tight”, stating that the radar had been holding Tesla back, and that now that its pure vision is fully accepted, it will move much quicker.
Musk may be trying to distract from negative press surrounding the FSD system. Last week, U.S. auto regulators opened a preliminary investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot, citing 11 incidents in which vehicles crashed into parked first responder vehicles. We don’t understand why first responder cars are so popular. But according to investigation documents posted on the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration’s website, most of the incidents took place after dark. While poor night vision may be a problem for many drivers, it is not a common phenomenon in autonomous driving.
Publiated at Tue 24 August 2021 23.20:50 +0000