"A Hard Problem": Elon Musk Laments Full Self Driving Woes Five Years Into Charging Customers For The Non-Existent Feature

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Jul 06, 2021 - 09:45 AM

In what looks to be shaping up as the biggest bait and switch boondoggle of the entire "green" movement, Elon Musk took to Twitter over the holiday week to tell his disappointed supporters that he "didn't expect full self driving" to be such a hard problem to solve. 

This would be a wonderful update on the state of Tesla's FSD project, except for one small thing: the company has been charging customers for full-self driving, which still doesn't exist in any operable form, for the better part of the last 5 years. 

While Musk and his team continue to fumble with making new variations of the almost decade-old Model S (the latest of which appears to be the Model S Flambée Style) and updating the Full Self Driving 9.0 beta that was supposed to be shipped two weeks from June 6, per another Musk tweet that wasn't accompanied by any regulatory filing, Musk's followers are starting to grow impatient.

In fact, some cultists Tesla supporters are starting to jab Musk on Twitter for his continued missed timelines, electrek noted this weekend. One Tesla owner even named his model "Two Weeks", a reference to Musk's missed timeline for FSD version 9.0.

This elicited a response from a brooding Musk, wherein he lamented how hard of a problem Full-Self Driving actually is, something that Tesla skeptics have been pointing out since Day 1. 

“Haha, FSD 9 beta is shipping soon, I swear!" Musk tried to reassure, before offering up a slate of excuses. "Generalized self-driving is a hard problem, as it requires solving a large part of real-world AI. I didn’t expect it to be so hard, but the difficulty is obvious in retrospect. Nothing has more degrees of freedom than reality,” Musk wrote.

Put simply, and out of Musk-bullshit-lingo, its an admission from Musk that fully autonomous driving - the same "feature" that bulls like Cathie Wood have threaded through their financial models in depth to arrive at bizarre Tesla price targets - is a complex problem that Musk apparently isn't even close to solving. Who could have guessed?

As a reminder, Musk said in 2019 he was "very confident" in predicting autonomous robotaxis "next year", which would have been 2020, which has now turned into "last year" and is six months away from being "two years ago":

Even pro-Tesla blog electrek's recanting of Musk's Full-Self Driving promises makes the hope of FSD ever happening sound like a pipe dream: 

"It was first supposed to happen in 2018, then 2019, and in more recent years Musk has been more careful about the way he talks about full self-driving and now instead refers to a “feature-complete” system that would still rely on the driver’s attention but could lead to true autonomy with data proving that it’s safer than humans.

This “feature complete” system is now Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta, which first started being released to early access owners back in October 2020 as part of a limited program. Tesla has since released several software updates for FSD Beta, and it has expanded the early access pool, but the program has certainly slowed down in recent months. The next big step is expected to be the FSD v9 Beta update, which Musk has been promising for a while now."

Recall, earlier this year Tesla offered up another reality check when it admitted to regulators that it was still "firmly in level 2" autonomy. 

The company "told a California regulator that it may not achieve full self-driving technology by the end of this year," according to Reuters back in May. The memo was originally unearthed by legal website PlainSite

"Tesla indicated that Elon is extrapolating on the rates of improvement when speaking about L5 capabilities. Tesla couldn’t say if the rate of improvement would make it to L5 by end of calendar year," the memo said. 

It continued: "Tesla indicated that they are still firmly in L2. As Tesla is aware, the public’s misunderstanding about the limits of the technology and its misuse can have tragic consequences."

We'd once again ask where the regulators are in a situation like this - (Has the SEC looked at Musk's disclosures versus what has been delivered? Has the FTC looked at what has been "sold" versus what has been delivered? Is the NHTSA even paying attention?) - but we've grown so dejected of wishing for some semblance of reality to intrude into the Musk stratosphere the best we can do is just sit back and watch the whole thing explode before our eyes, not unlike a Model S Plaid rolling down a suburban street.