I wouldn’t exactly call what’s happening a collapse, perhaps more a collective moment of clarity. Right now in R / teslamotors from Reddit In the forum there is an intense and very serious conversation about the $ 10,000 level 2 driver assistance package that Tesla calls “Full Self-Driving” (FSD), specifically, if the features that Tesla and Elon Musk began to promise in 2016 will really exist. and what kind of legal exposure does Tesla have if it does not comply. People have deposited real money and still haven’t gotten what they expected, which has led to these difficult conversations.
The original poster said they were motivated to start the thread due to Ford’s public relations representative Mike Levine’s description of Tesla’s “FSD” system as “vaporware,” which had sparked much debate about the status of “FSD” 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 get into the owner’s hands?
This may 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 maybe Elon himself if the FSD continues to push. I understand that it is a tricky question because Tesla itself is not overly communicative and the reasons for lobbying can vary wildly from mistakes to government intervention.
I am often criticized by other owners for taking a serious rather than optimistic outlook on the company, but it seems to me that FSD pre-sale constitutes a contractual obligation for a specific set of features and that at some point failure to deliver on those promises is a breach of contract subject not only to refunds, but also to penalties and other legal action
This is a completely valid question, especially if you’ve spent a grand ten (plus the cost of the car) for a set of tech capabilities you haven’t seen yet. However, the OP doesn’t just care about that; they are also concerned about Tesla’s potential liability 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 as much debate as Tesla’s own website makes it quite clear:
“All new Tesla cars have the necessary hardware in the future for full autonomous driving in almost all circumstances. The system is designed to be able to make short and long distance trips without the person in the driver’s seat requiring any action.
All you need to do is get in and tell your car where to go. If you don’t say anything, the car will check your calendar and take you there as an assumed destination or just home if there is nothing on the calendar. Your Tesla will determine the optimal route, navigate urban streets (even without lane markings), manage complex intersections with traffic lights, stop signs and roundabouts, and drive heavily populated highways with speeding cars. When you arrive at your destination, simply walk out to the driveway and your car will enter parking search mode, automatically search for a spot, and park. One tap on your phone calls you back.
Future unsupervised use of these features is dependent on achieving reliability far superior to that 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 autonomous driving capabilities are introduced, your car will be continually updated via wireless software updates. “
This sure sounds like level 5 full autonomy, with descriptions like “The system is designed to be able to make short and long distance trips without the person in the driver’s seat requiring any action” Y “All you need to do is get in and tell your car where to go.”
The system is not even close to that yet.
Other parts of the Tesla site divide “FSD” into seven separate modules:
Many of the responses suggest that class action lawsuits may be possible, despite Tesla’s legal waivers, in part because Elon Musk’s tweets and other comments about “FSD’s capabilities and schedule” make many very specific claims:
“A great class action. Tesla’s disclaimers do not protect them from legal action, especially given Elon’s tweets. “
An example of a tweet from Elon could be this, from 2018:
Okay, it was covered with “probably” there, but in this call for results for the fourth quarter of 2019, he said
“This year we will be totally autonomous. The car will be able to find it in a parking lot, pick it up and take it to its destination without an intervention this year. Of that I’m sure. That is not a question mark. It will be essentially safe to fall asleep and wake up at your destination towards the end of next year. “
Yes, you might not sleep in your Tesla yet.
The mention of “regulators” in the above tweet is also notable, due to the frequency with which the concept of regulatory delays seems to come up when Tesla talks about “FSD.”
Is mentioned in the Reddit discussion multiple times, and the idea that regulatory issues are holding back “FSD” is hinted at on Tesla’s site, at the beginning of a video showing the capabilities of “FSD”:
The problem is, as also mentioned in that Reddit thread, currently there are no federal regulations on autonomous vehicles. Some states have regulations, but many of those states, including Florida and Michigan, allow autonomous vehicles to be driven on public roads. Tennessee even has legislation ban Local governments ban autonomous vehicles.
If something is preventing the “FSD” from being delivered, it is not the government.
What makes this thread interesting is that it is a good reminder that as often as we talk about cult and hardcore Tesla Stans, the actual owners are, of course, by no means a monolithic block.
This thread reads like many smart people with disposable income who want to see autonomous vehicles hit the market and who made a hopeful and expensive decision to trust what they were told was coming. Now they are not so sure.
Of course, there are also ardent supporters of Tesla, even those who seem to have a reasonably clear view of the situation:
“I agree that Elon has been overly optimistic about the state of full autonomous driving. However, it’s clear to me (or at least it was) that I was paying for a really neat set of controller automation features with an absolutely killer ADAS with the potential to get even more controller automation up to L5 when available.
I think the acidity around this function really comes from the name of the function. FSD and Autopilot are crazy and optimistic names for what they currently offer. But that’s what I love about Tesla and why I bought one (and, later, shares of the company). They take shots at the moon in so many places. The interior of the Model 3 is absolutely simple because it is built for a universe where you don’t drive yourself. The same goes for the Model S and its integrated fork and Smart Shift. You have do something crazy like this to make the future happen. “
So this commenter agrees that the Autopilot and “FSD” names are “wildly optimistic” but still find that to be something they “love about Tesla.”
At a point, the OP is asked “what is your purpose”, what they respond to
“The discussion about the status of FSD, the time frame and whether the progress is reasonable has been had many times here and elsewhere. I find it usually turns into a shouting match between the two well-represented groups here, which are the mass of people that border on the worshipers of Elon and those who feel wronged / deceived by him. I experienced something very similar to that in a Facebook thread for my local Tesla owners group just two days ago.
I am trying to engage in a more thoughtful assessment of what is happening from a non-technical perspective. In particular, I am trying to make a determination in my own mind if what is happening here is reasonable and justifiable or if there is something nefarious going on. It’s easy to make accusations or draw conclusions based on preconceived biases about this. I hope to be more factual about it. “
I’ve tried to cite a few key parts here, but I think if you’re remotely interested in autonomy development and Tesla in particular, this is a very interesting thread to read.
There is a lot going on here and a lot of questions arise. Is “FSD” a genuinely serious project with real goals and deliverables, or a concocted scam to get a lot of money without delivering anything?
Is it real but long overdue and suffering from Elon’s frequent overpricing and promises? I like it when he claimed that Teslas was appreciating assets because they could soon make money for their owners as autonomous robotaxis?
Could “FSD” pre-order buyers file a class action lawsuit if promised capacities are not met? Is Tesla protected from this? Would it paralyze the company?
There are so many questions and, in fact, few answers, at least not yet. However, it is good that the discussion is going on as all these issues need to be addressed.