Heisenberg Media / Tesla
Tesla Tall Tales

Tesla Admits Elon Musk Exaggerated Autopilot Capabilities

byTony Tran
May 8
Heisenberg Media / Tesla

"Elon's tweet does not match engineering reality..."

Fact Versus Fiction

Tesla’s director of Autopilot software made a stunning admission in a memo from the California Department of Motor Vehicles: CEO Elon Musk has been exaggerating the capabilities of Tesla’s auto-pilot feature.

The document, attained by legal data transparency group PlainSite, outlined a call between the California DMV with Tesla officials including CJ Moore, the company’s director of Autopilot software, on March 9. During the call, Moore admitted to them that Musk had been overstating the ability of their cars to drive themselves, according to The Verge.

“Elon’s tweet does not match engineering reality per CJ,” the California DMV said in the document. “Tesla is at Level 2 currently.”

“Level 2” refers to a phase in its autopilot driving system that still requires a human driver behind the wheel to supervise the vehicle. 


Deadly Reality

The “tweet” that the memo was referring to was seemingly in reference to a comment Musk made during an earnings call with Tesla investors in January 2020. 

During that call, Musk said he was “highly confident the car will be able to drive itself with reliability in excess of human this year.”

In reality, the Tesla autopilot feature has caused a whole host of issues for drivers including accidents, traffic violations, and even deaths since it was rolled out in October 2020. 

Most recently, two men died in Texas after their Tesla crashed with neither victim in the driver’s seat, according to The New York Times


So while there’s a lot of exciting potential for this technology, there’s a human cost as well — especially when its capabilities are exaggerated in the name of marketing.

READ MORE: Tesla privately admits Elon Musk has been exaggerating about ‘full self-driving’ [The Verge]

More on Tesla: Hackers Broke into Tesla Using a Drone

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