Elon Musk Said To Have Supervised, Dictated Text For Tesla's 2016 Self-Driving Video

Zinger Key Points
  • Musk reportedly pushed staff to make the 2016 demonstration video a priority.
  • The video was supposed to show the world what the car will be 'able to do' not what 'it can do upon receipt.'
  • Musk worked with Tesla's Autopilot team and oversaw the making of the video, according to the report.
Elon Musk Said To Have Supervised, Dictated Text For Tesla's 2016 Self-Driving Video

Tesla Inc TSLA CEO Elon Musk dictated the opening text of a 2016 video that touted that one of its cars drove itself.

What Happened: Musk oversaw the creation of the video and made a push on efforts to create it, reported Bloomberg, citing internal company correspondence. 

In October 2016, Musk reportedly wrote to Tesla’s Autopilot team to underscore the importance of the demonstration, about which he made an announcement a week later. 

“Just want to be absolutely clear that everyone’s top priority is achieving an amazing Autopilot demo drive,” wrote Musk, according to the report. 

Musk also told the team that since it was a “demo” it was fine to “hardcore some of it,” making a reference to temporary code, which could later be updated.

Musk reportedly wrote that he would be telling the world what the car will “be able to do” and not “that it can do this upon receipt.”

Tesla did not immediately respond to Benzinga’s request for comment.

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Why It Matters: Musk pushed employees to write a daily log of what they did in order for the demonstration to succeed, reported Bloomberg.

The entrepreneur reportedly canceled his obligations for a weekend to work with the Autopilot team and informed them in an email that carried the subject “The Absolute Priority.”

He reviewed the fourth version of the video, saying it had too many jump cuts and the footage “needs to feel like one continuous take.”

Musk reportedly pushed for the video to open with a black screen and three sentences that referred to the present, even though he had told staff that he would be demonstrating the future capability of cars.

The video opens with the text: “The person in the driver’s seat is only there for legal reasons. He is not doing anything. The car is driving itself.”

Ashok Elluswamy, a senior Tesla engineer, testified that the 2016 video was staged recently. He said the video was produced using 3D mapping over a predetermined route. A vehicle crashed into a fence during a test run.

Price Action: On Thursday, Tesla shares closed 1.25% lower at $127.17 in the regular session and rose 0.9% in the after-hours trading, according to data from Benzinga Pro. 

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Photo courtesy: Thomas Hawk on Flickr


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