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Seems that perhaps autonomous vehicles are entering the trough of disillusionment in the Gartner hype cycle.

My guess as of here on March 28th, 2019 is that the true bottom of that particular trough will end up being directly related to Tesla in some manner or another. My hope is that Tesla does not make it overly difficult to climb up out of that trough on the other side.

Earlier this week, Elon Musk was tweeting quite a bit about their so-called "autopilot" or "enhanced autopilot" (EAP). My strong suspicion is that his motivation was primarily to drive some end of quarter sales of those high margin items (strategically a good decision from that regard, perhaps).

Then yesterday, following a reply to a Musk Tweet about being proud of the Autopilot team that included the link below, the account of Twitter user Elon Bachman ended up being suspended. It is unclear what prompted the Twitter account suspension mechanistically (whether a unilateral request from Elon to Jack Dorsey or simply a preponderance of Tesla/Elon fans or bots reporting the Tweet), but it is clear that the sharing of the spreadsheet was a primary driver of the account being suspended. The account was restored this morning after considerable uproar.

There was a short podcast episode recorded last night about the matter.

While the items in the spreadsheet linked above are certainly not all directly related to use of Tesla's currently on-the-road Autopilot/EAP, there are certainly still bugs to be worked out and there has been some irresponsibility on the part of Elon Musk/Tesla in the manner of depicting that you can drive hands-free already today.

Following the recording of the short episode last night, I contemplated a rank-ordered list of the reasons that I have found myself to be a part of TSLAQ Twitter and have been so fully sucked into following the Tesla story (to the point of starting a Podcast about it, even). One of the items on that list is a desire to play a role in NOT having Tesla set back the path to a future of legitimately safe autonomous vehicles by putting systems on the road that are not quite ready for prime time, but that seem close enough that they lull people into a false sense of their capabilities. From my (admittedly-biased perspective), this is a legitimate risk with what Tesla continues doing to-date.

For a more reasoned and responsible path forward on Autonomous Vehicles, this PAVE coalition seems to be going about things in the right manner. On Twitter, I have harped many times that Tesla is conspicuously absent from this group (while tons of other big-hitters in the AV space actually ARE part of PAVE, including VW).

Disclosure: Short TSLA
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