Waymo’s CEO, after years of quietly putting the work in with his head down and mouth closed, appears to be ready to publicly dethrone (and humiliate) Tesla in the world of self-driving.
The CEO had some harsh words for Elon Musk in a recent interview with Germany’s Manager magazine, ridiculing Tesla’s current strategy (which, to us, appears to be making small changes here and there and letting the general public beta test their software).
Tesla appears to be trying to merge its driver assist with full self driving, ARS Technica writes. Waymo, on the other hand, has been working on fully self-driving from the get go. Waymo CEO John Krafcik made this point and said in the interview: “For us, Tesla is not a competitor at all. We manufacture a completely autonomous driving system. Tesla is an automaker that is developing a really good driver assistance system.”
He continued: “It is a misconception that you can just keep developing a driver assistance system until one day you can magically leap to a fully autonomous driving system. In terms of robustness and accuracy, for example, our sensors are orders of magnitude better than what we see on the road from other manufacturers.”
Waymo leaders have also “long doubted” Tesla’s plans to avoid LIDAR, the ARS Technica piece notes: “They believe that lidar sensors will be indispensable to get early self-driving vehicles on the road. They also believe that the transition from a driver-assistance system to a fully driverless system is fraught with danger.”
The report also notes that Waymo seems to be much further along than Tesla:
Krafcik says that Waymo has largely completed technical work on its self-driving software and is now focused on scaling the technology up. If that’s true, the company may be able to demonstrate the technical and commercial viability of its approach in the next couple of years. Musk has dismissed Waymo’s approach as a “highly specialized solution” and questioned whether Waymo can scale it up.
Meanwhile, despite the repeated failures of his past predictions, Musk continues to insist that Tesla’s full self-driving technology is close to release. “I am extremely confident of achieving full autonomy and releasing it to the Tesla customer base” in 2021, Musk stated last month. Krafcik, meanwhile, believes Tesla’s approach is a dead end.
We have written extensively about Tesla’s self-driving efforts. Recall, in October 2020, we published an article highlighting a video aptly titled: “Bullshit Exposed: Elon Musk & The Self Driving Scam”.
The video splices together Elon Musk’s statements regarding Full Self Driving, which he has been collecting deposits on for years, with clips of the “feature’s” recent performance. As many already know, the promises and timelines that Musk have presented in the past are a far cry from what Tesla’s vehicle’s are actually capable of performing.
The video calls Full Self Driving a “classic bait and switch”.
It only takes 2 minutes to thoroughly debunk Musk’s promises as nonsense. The video starts by highlighting Musk, in April 2019, stating that at the “middle of next year” there would be over a million Tesla cars on the road that are feature complete with Full Self Driving.
“We expect to have the first operating robotaxis next year. With no one in them, next year,” Musk said in 2019.
The video then shows a litany of massive Full Self Driving screw ups, including cars botching turns, stopping in the middle of roadways for no reason and drivers being forced to re-take control of their vehicles. “Shit! Oh my god. Excuse my language. What the heck was that?” one driver says of his car’s performance.