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Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by stealthology, Feb 21, 2016.
Together, we can mind the hype gap | The Verge
The more time Tesla spends on self-driving cars, the less it accomplishes toward its original master plan for sustainable transportation. This article is a breath of fresh air...
It's not at all clear to me that self-driving is incidental to Tesla's mission, any more than making their cars beautiful and fun to drive is incidental. If you pare the mission down to its core, you could probably state it as "make all miles electric miles". At first I wrote that as "build electric cars everyone can afford" but I think that's actually wrong -- Tesla would achieve their goal better if they produced a smaller fleet of shared cars with a higher duty cycle. Why better? Because fewer resources expended to build, maintain and garage them. What does it take to move from an ownership model of cars to a shared-fleet model? Well, Uber seems to believe self-driving is key.
So, is self-driving actually a distraction from the mission? I'm not so sure.
(But yes, other things are Even More Important in the near-to-mid term, notably making the cars beautiful, fun, functional, and affordable.)
With the headscratching exception of their communication, Tesla can walk and chew gum at the same time. Since basically every automaker is working on this, they'll need "self-driving" features to continue to be competitive as a car company. Electric alone isn't enough.
That said, this Verge article spent a lot of words to say not much. The author seems to be in a tech "journalist" bubble. Without really understanding much about technology, his job is to regularly come up with things to write about. Outside of the TMC and tech blog bubble, the general public isn't thinking much about this technology, and when they do they figure it will arrive many years from now. So I feel like the author is venting more his personal frustration of having to write another self-driving car article where the improvements are too subtle to make interesting copy, rather than describing some real problem.
My summary: completely self-driving autonomous cars sure will take more than technology to get started, and while the tech keeps getting a bit better it's not going to be "shipping this year" any year (too) soon.
And that's probably a good thing, call me old-fashioned but safety first, eh :smile:
The thing here for us is that while Tesla may be investing thousands of hours per workday of engineering human power on totally autonomous vehicles, it seems we get to turn tomorrow's hype into today's very real stress relief with driver-monitored Autopilot.