Musk Misses Another Deadline. Only by Two Years, Though. Maybe Three

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Photo: Wikipedia user Maurizio Pesce
Elon Musk's propensity for setting unrealistic targets is a thing of legend. Most people say he does it to stimulate everybody involved in the project to give their best, but we all know unrealistic goals is not the right way to move forward. After all, that's what caused Volkswagen's Dieselgate scandal.
We think Musk's reason behind this method is actually building hype around his companies' projects. So what if they don't deliver everything they promise on time? He can always invoke the fact he's essentially revolutionizing a century-old industry - something nobody can argue against - and that's hard work.

One of the areas where the Tesla CEO has been particularly brash is the autonomous technology in cars. In late 2015, Musk claimed it would only be two years until cars became fully self-driven, but here we are with 2017 almost gone and the technology still seems not to be quite there yet.

This wasn't the only thing Musk got wrong about AI-controlled vehicles, though. You could say that was just a prediction, not a promise, so it shouldn't really reflect badly on the company, but rather on his abilities to earn a living as a futurologist.

However, the intrepid businessman also claimed that by the end of this very year, a Tesla vehicle of unspecified nature would complete a coast-to-coast road trip without the driver actually deserving the name since they wouldn't touch the steering wheel even once.

That was meant as a show of force, showing his company's advantage over the competition and placing Tesla at the head of the race for autonomous driving tech. What the CEO failed to predict was that, following the break-up with Mobileye last year, Tesla was forced to rewrite all the software for its Autopilot 2-equipped cars, and that proved to be more difficult than anticipated.

Musk probably decided to let the Semi and 2nd Roadster presentation take people's minds off that promised autonomous journey, and it kind of worked. Now, we find out (via Electrek) that, during the Neural Information Processing Systems conference, Musk pushed back his prediction for fully-autonomous vehicles (Level 5) for another two years. He also said that one year further from then, the AI would actually become a better driver than any human.

Tesla remains adamant over its decision to rely strictly on video cameras, radars and ultrasonic sensors to reach Level 5 autonomy despite the rest of the industry betting big on LIDAR. Musk said that all vehicles built starting late last year have the necessary hardware for complete autonomy built into them and it's just the software that's missing. It looks like the owners of these cars would have to wait at least two more years to be able to take full advantage of the options they paid for as early as 2016, but at least they can live knowing their leap of faith helped develop the technology.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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