Tesla's full self-driving AI systems have not been anywhere near as polished as many expected. In fact, numerous videos of the technology has shown them to be fairly dangerous. As it turns out, a large group of Tesla engineers agree, and they're unhappy about it.
In an article by The New York Times, nineteen Tesla engineers have spoken out about the quality of the company's AI. Additionally, the engineers claim that owner Elon Musk is overpromising and misleading the public.
Tesla Engineers vs Elon Musk
Many stand by Tesla for its work on improving the reputation of electric vehicles. However, die-hard fans of the company has also been tethered to its proposed Autopilot software. Currently in beta, the self-driving technology works on a base level, but it's too unreliable to be a commercial release.
This unreliable reality has been the cause of many debates. With many buying into the FSD subscription service hoping for a true Autopilot future, fans are expecting the technology to one day reach that place. However, not even Tesla engineers believe it will succeed to the level of quality fans are expecting.
The issue stems from Musk's claims that Tesla FSD will reach full autonomy. This means that the car will be able to accelerate, steer, brake and park without any assistance from the would-be driver. As it currently is, beta testers are expected to always have their hands on the wheel in lift to take control.
Engineers speaking to The New York Times claim that Musk's treatment of FSD is hazardous. As fans are encouraged to take vehicles out on highways with new updates to the software, danger can occur. Additionally, NYT resorts that the initial pitch for the software was exclusively as a “co-pilot” to assist driving. However, executives decided to market the tech as “Autopilot” as it was more impressive.
The Camera Problem
One point of contention with Musk and Tesla engineers is the technology powering the Autopilot system. Initially, engineers used a combination of radar and cameras, a cheaper solution than more expensive LiDAR. However, radar was removed at the behest of Musk in favour of a cheaper, camera-only method.
As per The New York Times, engineers are torn on Musk's decision. Some believe a camera exclusive approach can work; other engineers believe full self-driving can't be achieved with just cheap cameras.
The outlet reports that multiple experts and Tesla engineers spoke out against the removal of other sensors. However, Musk concluded that if humans can drive with just two eyes, then cars can drive with just cameras.
In the years since, Tesla’s full self-driving has failed to rapidly improve on road. Some believe its an over-hyped fallacy. Others believe that full autonomous driving will happen, but Tesla’s egregious cost-cutting will hold it back.