By B.N. Frank
There have been so many complaints, concerns, and warnings about Teslas, it’s been difficult keeping up with all of them. They include:
- Crashes and other significant and potentially fatal mechanical and operational issues (see 1, 2, 3, 4)
- Fires and explosions
- Unexpectedly fast battery degradation
- High levels of harmful electromagnetic radiation emissions which can affect all passengers including pets
Now owners are wondering if these cars aren’t capable of “Full Self-Driving” as originally promised.
Tesla Owners Take To Reddit Asking What Happens If ‘Full Self Driving’ Isn’t Real
I wouldn’t call what’s happening a meltdown exactly, maybe more of a collective moment of clarity. Right now on Reddit’s r/teslamotors forum there’s an intense and very serious conversation about the now-$10,000 level 2 driver assist package that Tesla calls “Full Self-Driving” (FSD)—specifically, whether the features Tesla and Elon Musk started promising back in 2016 will ever actually exist, and what kind of legal exposure Tesla has if it fails to deliver. People have put down real money and haven’t yet gotten what they were expecting, which has led to these difficult conversations.
The original poster said they were motivated to start the thread because of Ford PR rep Mike Levine’s description of Tesla’s “FSD” system as “vaporware,” which had sparked a lot of debate about “FSD’s” status as vaporware or not within the Tesla community.
Here’s how the poster explains it:
Serious: What is Tesla’s exposure if FSD doesn’t make it to owner’s hands?
This might not be the right forum, but I’m curious if anyone has done a semi-academic study of the legal and financial exposure to Tesla and perhaps Elon himself if the FSD continues to push? I understand that is a complicated question because Tesla itself isn’t overly forthcoming and the reasons for pushing could vary wildly from bugs to government intervention.
I’m often chastised by other owners for taking a serious rather than optimistic view on the company, but it seems to me that the FSD presales constitute a contractual obligation for a specific set of features and that at some point the failure to deliver on those promises is a breach of contract subject to not just refunds, but perhaps penalties and other legal action.
This is an entirely valid question to ask, especially if you’ve coughed up ten grand (plus the cost of the car) for a suite of technological capabilities that you’ve yet to see. The OP isn’t just concerned about that, though; they’re also concerned about the potential liability for Tesla as a company if it fails to deliver on its “FSD” promises.
There’s also a lot of talk about exactly what Tesla actually promises when you pre-order “FSD,” though this really shouldn’t cause all that much debate, as Tesla’s own website lays it out pretty clearly:
“All new Tesla cars have the hardware needed in the future for full self-driving in almost all circumstances. The system is designed to be able to conduct short and long distance trips with no action required by the person in the driver’s seat.
All you will need to do is get in and tell your car where to go. If you don’t say anything, the car will look at your calendar and take you there as the assumed destination or just home if nothing is on the calendar. Your Tesla will figure out the optimal route, navigate urban streets (even without lane markings), manage complex intersections with traffic lights, stop signs and roundabouts, and handle densely packed freeways with cars moving at high speed. When you arrive at your destination, simply step out at the entrance and your car will enter park seek mode, automatically search for a spot and park itself. A tap on your phone summons it back to you.
The future use of these features without supervision is dependent on achieving reliability far in excess of human drivers as demonstrated by billions of miles of experience, as well as regulatory approval, which may take longer in some jurisdictions. As these self-driving capabilities are introduced, your car will be continuously upgraded through over-the-air software updates.”
This sure sounds like full, Level 5 autonomy, with descriptions like “The system is designed to be able to conduct short and long distance trips with no action required by the person in the driver’s seat” and “All you will need to do is get in and tell your car where to go.”
The system is nowhere near that yet.
Referring to Elon Musk as an insensitive innovator may be putting it mildly. He’s openly bragged about one of his company’s inserting chips in animals’ brains in order to test them for future implantation into human brains. Despite increasing dangers, opposition, and warnings, his company, SpaceX, continues launching satellites and other space vehicles. Should anyone trust him to be honest about the likelihood that his cars will ever be able to safely operate on “Full Self Driving?”
Activist Post reports regularly about unsafe technology. For more information visit our archives.
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