Elon Musk explains Tesla’s Autopilot “beta” phase

In a recent Reuters report, Germany’s Federal Office for Motor Vehicles (KBA) said it would not have approved the Autopilot system installed on Tesla cars if the technology was still in a “beta-phase” version. Following this, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has now come out to clarify the carmaker’s use of the term “beta.”

On his official Twitter page, Musk explained that the term “beta” is not used in the standard sense, but rather an explicit warning to make sure that drivers “don’t get comfortable” with the system i.e. sleeping in the car with Autopilot engaged. Put simply, drivers have to be at the ready to take over if needed.

According to Musk, Tesla’s Autopilot system would need to notch up at least one billion miles of real-world driving before it can leave the “beta” phase. He added that even though Tesla had performed extensive Autopilot testing on its fleet, “there is no substitute for real world experience.”

“With less than one billion miles, there simply isn’t enough data. One billion is a necessary but not necessarily sufficient condition,” he tweeted. When asked when the company will hit the billion-mile mark, Musk expects to hit said target in around six months, after which all Autopilot-equipped Teslas will be offered a software update that includes “hundreds of refinements to handle rare corner cases.”

Back in May, Tesla’s Director of Autopilot Programs, Sterling Anderson confirmed that the company has collected 780 million miles worth of Autopilot data and 100 million miles of active Autopilot use, according to a report by Electrek. He added that the company is adding a million more miles every 10 hours – thanks to a fleet of over 70,000 Teslas equipped with Autopilot hardware.

Tesla’s Autopilot system has come under intense scrutiny from the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) following the first-known fatality involving the system. The “self-driving” feature has also been linked with two Tesla Model X crashes in Pennsylvania and Montana, recently.

Looking to sell your car? Sell it with Carro.

10% discount when you renew your car insurance

Compare prices between different insurer providers and use the promo code 'PAULTAN10' when you make your payment to save the most on your car insurance renewal compared to other competing services.

Car Insurance

Gerard Lye

Originating from the corporate world with a background in finance and economics, Gerard’s strong love for cars led him to take the plunge into the automotive media industry. It was only then did he realise that there are more things to a car than just horsepower count.



  • Asking pipu to QC & test their functions is like toyota asking pipu to QC & test their non-existent safety features. Both unethical but cannot be persoaled.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 11
    • Ollie on Jul 13, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      What language is this? Annoyingus?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2
      • Singlish

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4
        • Sir, your stupidity can’t be expressed enough with your language. Let me ask you this, is Proton free from QC problems and accidents after ‘testing’ extensively?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
  • you know, sometimes back it was illegal to install a screen at the front of the vehicle, JPJ rules. Than JPJ found their rules contradict with the mainstream cars when BMW launched the idrive.
    Now, we practically have a huge ipad infront of us just like this Tesla.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
  • camtakpro on Jul 13, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Best out-of-beta criteria for car autopilot: They should test 1 billion miles of distinct routes in all types of Malaysian road/weather/kampung/off-road/mud/potholes/sinkhole/jam/deadlock/crossings without accidents, even if the accident is caused by rear rampage of bus the test still failed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • failed on Jul 13, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    failed means failed….it is so funny that tesla use the total number of their car’s millage ( million miles every 10 hours ) to conclude how safe is their cars

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4
  • Ollie on Jul 13, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    I don’t think anything will be safer than an alert driver. If a mad gorilla racer wannabe comes crashing into you, there’s nothing you can do.
    (Here I just wanna take a swipe at those who talk bad about women drivers – the worst drivers on the road are males driving Wira, Vios, Myvi – only white/black Myvi drive badly – its a Malaysian phenomenon)
    Also, simple rules like not speeding on left lane, keeping distance from car in front and behind, and thinking in advance which lane you wanna go.

    Why are simple things so hard for simple Malaysians?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

Add a comment