- Auto-manufacturing expert Sandy Munro praised Tesla’s latest self-driving tech after a test ride.
- During an interview with Elon Musk, Munro said the system should hit the market as soon as possible.
- Tesla released a beta of its “full self-driving” mode, which doesn’t yet make cars autonomous, last year.
One of the foremost automotive manufacturing experts in the country has high hopes for Tesla’s long-awaited “full self-driving” (FSD) mode.
During a February 2 one-on-one interview with Elon Musk for his YouTube channel, Sandy Munro — an industry consultant who has come down hard on Tesla’s build quality in the past — lauded the beta version of FSD. This came after he had a chance to experience during a ride-along with one of the few Tesla owners who has access to the new software.
“[I’ve] never ever seen anything like what you’ve got in the new self-driving thing,” Munro told Tesla’s CEO. “This is just absolutely brilliant. This should get into the marketplace as fast as possible.”
Munro, who is known for his in-depth teardown videos of cars, especially Teslas, posted a video of the ride-along on Monday in which he praises the system for its accuracy and its “aggressive” way of driving.
“Right off the bat, I’m very impressed. Actually, my best hope was less than what I just saw,” Munro said during the ride. “I’m an aggressive driver — this drives aggressively.”
In his talk with Musk, Munro said he thinks FSD will constitute a massive development in automotive safety when it hits the market, claiming it “will save more lives than airbags, seatbelts, and anything else,” to which Musk agreed.
But Tesla’s automated-driving software — at least in its early stages — doesn’t come without potential risks. Transportation experts and politicians have criticized Tesla’s Autopilot feature — which can brake, accelerate, and steer automatically, but doesn’t make cars fully autonomous — as misleading branding.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains that no vehicle on the market can drive itself, and has opened investigations into Autopilot’s role in several crashes that had inattentive drivers. Tesla, for its part, says on its website that both Autopilot and FSD currently require full driver attention.
During Munro’s video, the FSD system only encountered minor hiccups, such as stopping for a stop sign in the middle of a block rather than at an intersection. However, since Tesla released the beta software last fall, numerous clips have surfaced online of owners having to step in at the last minute to avoid collisions.
FSD is currently a $10,000 option, and Musk said in December that it will be available in early 2021 as a subscription.