When product manufacturers can’t answer a simple question, it’s rarely a good sign. Someone frequently hides shortfalls and unpleasant surprises behind a company’s strategic silence on a subject. How do online shopping services make money if all they do is run their errands? Is it safe to download all the apps in the Google Play Store, and what is Google doing to protect its users? Hey, Tesla, how’s your winter range?
Not to pick on Musk’s business endeavors, but Tesla can be evasive about certain details that consumers care about. Marketing based on image and excitement rather than dull practical stats is not unique to Tesla, but they certainly embrace it. That isn’t a problem until the narrative completely takes over and relevant facts vanish.
For example, does the new Tesla Semi include Full Self-Driving and/or Autopilot software driving assistance? That isn’t rhetoric. Send us an answer that is supported by a credible source. We’re an automotive news outlet, and we have heard nothing about it. That is not a good sign.
First, the good news: I have delivered the Tesla Semi to its first customers, and implementation is on track, barring a few minor technical hiccups. PepsiCo, Budweiser, Walmart, and others will soon use the all-electric truck. Even better, the trucks appear to be delivering on Tesla’s promises of a top-tier machine. On several key metrics, the Tesla Semi consistently outperforms competitors. It even costs less than trucks with comparable specs, which is unusual when compared to other Tesla models.
Aside from that, we believe it is unnecessary to question the onboard software, as does Electrek. According to them, Tesla has not only made any announcement about the autonomous operation in the Semi, but the company has also systematically removed any mention of Autopilot and Full Self-Driving from the truck’s online presence on the Tesla website.
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Importantly, Tesla has never stated that the Semi will not have software driver assistance. A definitive announcement that autonomous operation on the Semi will be available would be a game changer for the trucking industry. Overwork, driver fatigue, and physical and mental health issues could all benefit significantly from an autonomous driving option (via FreightWaves). Will Tesla take the lead? For the time being, it is unknown whether it will be a future feature, but it is not available in the current Tesla semi.