Elon Musk’s latest claim — “I remain confident that we will have the basic functionality for level 5 autonomy complete this year” — is a clear sign that Mr. Musk has crossed over to the other side and is now “cuckoo for cocoa puffs.”
Of course, the term “basic functionality” is not defined in any way, so he has a built-in disclaimer. No one knows what the “basic functionality” of a Level 5 autonomous vehicle is. For example, my Audi Q8 has Traffic Jam Assist, which is the basic functionality of any level of autonomy. In a traffic jam, under 40 mph, if you confirm you are a living being behind the wheel by touching it once per minute, the car will stay in the lane and skootch along without hitting anything (most of the time). That’s pretty basic. So, leave Elon alone. He’s just having a “moment.”
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