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This completely fails to address Musk's argument: that for a L5 car you need to be able to drive in inclement weather where LIDAR does not work reliably.

Musk may be right or wrong, but this article is a non-sequitur.

Musk has made a lot of arguments over the years. His argument was that lidar is a crutch because people do it without lidar.

Except people don't drive reliably in inclement weather at all, so you don't really want that as the gold standard.

Training a car to be as good as average people driving in the rain/snow would be horrible.

Cameras don't work reliably in inclement weather either.

So what was Musk's point ?

there's 200-300k cars out there with just cameras + radar and their bet is the software catches up to the rhetoric. Adding lidar is next to impossible on the current fleet and adds to the cost if they start now. It is an early design bet which the coders now have to meet.

But no car sold yet (or in the coming decade) will have close to “full autonomy”. Not even close.

He’s been promising otherwise.

Hopefully no one bought a car hoping it will magically be “fully autonomous” in the future, given that no one knows whether it will even be possible with a research vehicle in 10 years

If they weren't hoping that, it would seem odd for them to pay several thousand dollars for a "Full Self Driving" option.

Yeah, I mean I hope people realize that just a few thousand and ”Full self driving” doesn’t imply ”Fully autonomous” in the sense that people can use their Tesla as an Uber and be drunk in the back seat! It just means that they’ll have the best autonomy that Tesla can provide which still means they have to pay attention. “Fully autonomous” to me is the point where my kid who can’t drive can use it as a taxi to school with no other driver etc. Musk doesn’t imagine that yet I hope.

Now I'm confused. At one point, Tesla literally had the following description for "Full self driving": "in the future, Model 3 will be capable of conducting trips with no action required by the person in the driver's seat".

Isn't that pretty much what you said "Full self driving" does NOT imply?

Conducting (some, specific/easy) trips with no action is easy. Even conducting most trips is likely doable within the near-ish future.

“Full autonomy” (at least to me) is being able to do any trip. Not just some or most. Because the key benefit is that the car can be empty, or the passenger drunk/blind/...

That’s what I think the crucial difference is between their marketed “full self driving” and true full autonomy.

I wasn't claiming Musk was right, just that the article is a non-sequitur

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