After taking deposits for Full Self Driving for almost a half decade and just watching Nikola's Trevor Milton publicly skewered for delivering a semi truck that didn't have the capabilities he insinuated that it did, perhaps a light bulb has started to go off in Elon Musk's head that it would be wiser than not to try and deliver on some of the promises of days past he has made.
And now that Tesla has been anointed a $400 billion market cap by
Softbank's options traders and the NY Federal Reserve capital markets, Musk may actually have some firepower to try and tackle problems that seemed "too big to not fail" while Tesla's valuation was still budding.
Enter Full Self Driving; the $8,000 vaporware that Musk has been "selling" to Tesla
marks customers for years without actually delivering. It now looks like the day has finally come: Musk has said that the company is going to be releasing a "Full Self Driving" beta release on October 20 to a "small number of people".
The software is supposed to allow Tesla vehicles to react to stop signs, stop lights and freeway exits.
Musk had said last week, responding to ARK Invest analyst Tasha Keeney, that a limited beta was coming "in a few weeks"
To us, it seems like a convenient promise; enough of a gesture for Musk to say he fulfilled his previous promise of having Full Self Driving complete by the end of 2020, but a small enough testing size for Musk to not truly have to debut anything of substance on a grand scale.
The sample size is likely going to include Tesla employees and possibly "some customers" that "agree not to share details with the public", according to Benzinga.
"Musk says the latest update will allow the possibility of zero interventions," Benzinga noted. "While drivers would still need to be ready to take over at any time, it's possible this means a vehicle could drive from point A to point B without any driver input."
We'll believe it when we see it work, in action, without killing drivers - not when we pay $8,000 for it.