Elon Musk On His Own Company's Technology: 'Safe, But Unpleasant'

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

Your run-of-the-mill corporate CEO couldn’t get away with this shit. In a series of tweets on Sunday, Tesla founder Elon Musk revealed that a new Autopilot software update should be ready for next month, and then went on to say that, Autopilot—of which the latest version is designed by Tesla, which, so you’re clear, is his company—is “safe, but unpleasant.” Hm.


The rollout of Autopilot’s second-generation has been fraught with issues, with Tesla owners complaining that it hasn’t reached feature parity with the first generation of Autopilot hardware, something at the center of a recent class-action lawsuit filed against the automaker.

Tesla has called the suit “disingenuous” and “inaccurate,” but even Musk says the new Autopilot can be unsettling for some drivers. On Sunday, in response to a comment about Autopilot’s “jerkiness” at highway speeds, Musk said that “Yeah, control algorithm is safe, but unpleasant. New one is even safer, but super smooth.”

That’s... reassuring. Musk went on to say that the new algorithm will be “smooth as silk.” The Teslarati blog has more:

Updates being made to the vehicle’s control algorithm will help refine Autopilot’s ability to determine actions and corrections signaled by the vehicle’s array of eight cameras and radar sensors. This should theoretically result in better ride comfort and a more “human-like” driving experience. While Enhanced Autopilot under the most recent firmware update already does a great job at keeping the vehicle to lanes and controlling speed, its actions are more robotic in nature and reactionary.


It’s surprising that Musk is so candid about the driving experience with Autopilot, especially after the company offered such a visceral response to the recent class-action suit. But yet, here he is, on Twitter admitting that Tesla owners are dealing with an unpleasant tool his own company produced. It’s strange to say the least.

Amid the flurry of tweets, Musk added that second-gen Autopilot cars should receive an update next month that’ll include auto windshield wipers and automatic perpendicular parking.


And Musk remains adamant that a coast-to-coast drive on Tesla Autopilot should be on target for sometime this year. Since October 2016, all new Teslas have been equipped with hardware to eventually operate entirely automated—and Musk claims all of the newer vehicles will be able to make a coast-to-coast trip.


And now you might even be able to make the trek without a rough driving experience. Splendid.

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk



Call me crazy, but I kinda wish more CEOs would just give it to me straight like that.

McDonald’s: Look, they’re awful for you. But you’ve got two bucks and we can give it to you in four minutes. Ok?

Samsung: Look, batteries are hard.

United: Fuck you right in your stupid squishy face.