Elon Musk said in January of this year that he was "highly confident [a Tesla] will be able to drive itself with reliability in excess of human this year."
To many of us, we knew it was nonsense. Musk has been crowing about Full Self Driving in Tesla vehicles - a feature that neither exists, per what its name claims, nor has been proven to be reliably safe - for years. On top of that, Tesla has sold billions of dollars in vehicles and taken deposits for years based on the idea that Full Self Driving technology would come to fruition at some point in the future.
Now, an admission from Tesla seems to confess what anyone paying attention already knew: there will be no Full Self Driving by the end of 2021. And if we were betting people, we'd bet we're not going to see it anytime shortly after that, either.
The company "told a California regulator that it may not achieve full self-driving technology by the end of this year," according to Reuters on Friday. 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."
The California DMV said in a memo about its March 9 conference call with Tesla representatives: "Elon's tweet does not match engineering reality per CJ. Tesla is at Level 2 currently." Level 2 means a semi-automated driving system, but one that requires human supervision.
Despite this, it hasn't stopped Tesla from rolling out (and then hurriedly recalling) "beta" versions of its FSD, which it has been doing since October of last year. The company's Autopilot and FSD "features" have been under increased scrutiny since a fatal April accident involving a Tesla near Houston.