GM Exec Says Tesla’s Elon Musk Is ‘Full Of Crap’ On Autonomous Driving

Tesla founder Elon Musk has been hyping up self-driving capabilities of his company's upcoming Model 3 automobile, but if you ask General Motors, the automaker will tell you he is "full of crap." Yes, those were the words GM's director of autonomous vehicle integration Scott Miller threw at Australian journalists in Detroit, which leaves little doubt to how and (and presumably his employer) really feels about Tesla.

"I think he is full of crap," Miller said. "To think you can see everything you need for a level five autonomous car with cameras and radar, I don't know how you do that."

Tesla Autonomous
Image Source: Tesla

Miller is referring to the rating system introduced by the US Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in reference to the autonomy of a self-driving vehicle. Level 0 indicates no autonomy at all with a human driver in control of everything. Level 5 is the highest ranking possible, and it describes a fully autonomous system in which the vehicle is expected to perform and react in the same manner of a human driver, if not better, and do so in all driving environments and situations.

Around this time a year ago, Tesla announced that every vehicle it produces going forward will be equipped with the hardware required for full autonomy, including the much anticipated Model 3 that is due out next year. At that point, Tesla is essentially claiming it will be up to the software to take advantage of the hardware so that drivers would be able to eat, read, or even nap while the vehicle motors along.

Image Source: Flickr (Maurizio Pesce)

"The level of technology and knowing what it takes to do the mission, to say you can be a full level five with just cameras and radars is not physically possible," Miller added. "I think you need the right sensors and right computing package to do it."

To Miller's point, a driver of a Model S vehicle perished last year with Tesla's self-driving Autopilot mode engaged. The vehicle was traveling along a divided highway when a tractor trailer coming from the opposite direction made a left turn in front of the Model S. Tesla said "neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was no applied."

Tesla has made some tweaks since then, but Miller is more than skeptical that Tesla's current technology is up to task of fully autonomy. As for the computing system, Tesla recently started working with AMD to develop artificially intelligent processors specific to its needs, presumably to use in place of NVIDIA's hardware.

Thumbnail Image Source: Flickr (Brian Solis)