Amid outrage over Twitter updates, eyes on a potential Twitter exodus to Meta’s (META) – Get Free Report Threads and the possibility of a cage match with Mark Zuckerberg, it is easy to forget that Elon Musk is also the CEO of Tesla (TSLA) – Get Free Report, the EV leader.
The company’s stock has surged more than 120% so far for the year, bolstered in part by excitement over the new partnerships the company has announced with legacy carmakers and EV icons alike to bring other EV owners access to Tesla’s Supercharging network.
Tesla’s Model 3 recently qualified for a $7,500 federal tax incentive, and the Cybertruck is coming. And surrounding all these announcements is continuing excitement over the company’s Full-Self Driving software and anticipation for the arrival of a truly self-driving car.
“In terms of where Tesla is at this stage, I think we are very close to achieving full self-driving without human supervision,” Musk said Thursday at a Shanghai conference on artificial intelligence. “This is only speculation, but I think we’ll achieve full self-driving, maybe what you would call four or five, I think later this year. I feel like we’re closer to it than we ever have been.”
Musk has made similar predictions before, in 2022 saying that full-self-driving cars would be ready by May 2023, a deadline that he missed.
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Musk rolled out a big update to Tesla’s self-driving software in March, allowing drivers who have opted in to gain access to autonomous end-to-end navigation, provided they keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road at all times.
In the midst of continued FSD excitement and Musk’s own shaky prediction on the arrival of a truly self-driving car — one where the driver doesn’t have to pay attention to the road at all — the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is seeking updated answers and data in its ongoing probe into Tesla’s Autopilot system.
The agency sent Tesla a letter July 3 and is demanding answers by July 19, according to a copy of the letter the NHTSA published on its website. If Tesla fails to comply by the deadline, the company faces “civil penalties of up to $26,315 per violation per day, with a maximum of $131,564,183 for a related series of daily violations,” according to the letter.
The probe began in 2021 after the NHTSA took note of a series of accidents involving Teslas on Autopilot.
The company’s stock was down more than 2% Thursday morning.
Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Read the full letter here.