When Elon Musk revealed Tesla’s new (and costly) Dual Motor Drive all-wheel drive system, he also pulled back the curtain on the first of many semi-autonomous driving features. The lane departure and speed assist systems are a prelude to a 90% autonomous Tesla Model S, arriving as soon as next year…that is, if you believe the hype.
But not everyone does, including analysts at Lux Research, which wrote a piece entitled “Tesla’s Autonomous Car Claims More Hype Than Reality,” dumping a cold dose of reality on Model S fans. On the pair of new autonomous car features, Lux says;
In its latest release, Tesla has effectively caught up with competing car companies, but certainly hasn’t passed them. Manufacturers like Daimler, Audi, BMW, and Ford, alongside many others, are all incorporating advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) into their cars. Tesla’s new release highlights two major ADAS features: automatic lane change and the ability for the car to read speed-limit signs and adjust speed accordingly. While an advancement for Tesla, neither feature is all that new – in 2013, there were 19 automakers with adaptive cruise control systems on the market, most of which offer the ability to read and react to speed limit signs, and others have automatic lane-change prototypes on the road.
While Musk has been bullish on autonomous car tech, Lux reminds readers that other companies are working every bit as hard to bring self-driving cars to market, and not all of them are automakers. Besides the fact that the technology remains prohibitively expensive, there will be years of costly trials and tests before the government approves robotic vehicles.
The notion that most of our driving will be handled by computers, rather than our own hands, in the next three or four years is stretching the truth at best. Or at least that’s the way Lux Research sees it. Others think an autonomous Tesla is going to be here sooner rather than later, and companies like Rinspeed are ready and raring to go.
Maybe Elon Musk knows something we don’t?