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Saturday, April 06, 2024


  15edition of the 12th year of SmartDrivingCars eLetter 


 A green rectangle with white letters  Description automatically generated   Tesla’s Elon Musk reiterates FSD licensing offer for other automakers

J. Huang, March 18, “ With the release and warm reception to FSD V12.3, it appears that Tesla is now leaning towards promoting the advanced driver-assist system as a supervised solution that can make driving a lot easier. This was hinted at in recently leaked emails from Elon Musk and Tesla’s own posts on social media. 

Tesla FSD V12.3 has been very impressive so far, with many users stating that the advanced driver-assist system can now navigate inner city streets like a fairly capable human driver. This does not mean to say that FSD has become a fully hands-free system, of course, but it does suggest that the system has improved to a degree where it can now navigate the intricacies of inner city driving confidently and safely.  ….

While Tesla does seem to be changing its tone somewhat with regard to FSD’s marketing, the company’s focus on supervised FSD — at least for now — does help emphasize just how far ahead Tesla is compared to other automakers also offering advanced driver-assist solutions.  …” Read More   Hmmmm…  As with any offer, one must carefully read the terms & conditions.  Supervised FSD involves hardware (sensors, actuators & processors) and software.  In today’s Teslas, that suite fully integrated is priced @ $12k or $200/month.  What Elon may be pitching here is the licensing of the software and IP associated with the integration of the hardware and software into the licensee’s vehicle.  The question is, what would a consumer be willing to pay Tesla for supervised FSD software on a non-Tesla that has been integrated with the necessary hardware (and OtA updating capabilities; otherwise, a total dumpster fire.)?

Indeed, it can’t be $12k or $200/mo.  But, it could be that minus scaled volume costs for the hardware, whose incremental costs above what is needed for basic Automated Emergency Braking and other basic tech improvements being incorporated into new cars.  So maybe it is $10k or $175/mo.  Or even as low as what is today’s margin earned by an OEM. 

It may actually be true that the value to the end customer of Supervised FSD may be equivalent to the whole rest of the car.  Wow!

What is the response by MobilEye?  Is this competitive capitalism at work?   Alain


A book cover of a book  Description automatically generatedJust Published!!!  Go to Amazon.com… You can still be first on your block to have one J.



SmartDrivingCars ZoomCast 366 / PodCast 366  Tesla out with Supervised FSD and offers to license it to others.

F. Fishkin, April 6, “ With Alain in Texas for hoped for eclipse viewing, on episode 366 of Smart Driving Cars, we take a look at Tesla’s release of Supervised FSD and another offer to license it to other carmakers. Plus NHTSA launching campaign to Put the Phone Away or Pay, NVIDIA, Tesla’s 1st quarter deliveries decline and the latest on the upcoming Smart Driving Cars Summit! Join Princeton’s Alain Kornhauser and co-host Fred Fishkin and subscribe!

0:00 Open

0:30 Alain in Texas for eclipse viewing

2:00 Musk reiterates FSD licensing offer

13:53 Tesla’s Supervised FSD no long Beta software

16:00 Musk denies report that 25 thousand dollar model being abandoned and sets August 8th date to unveil robotaxi

18:14 The Verge reports Tesla is dragging Apple into upcoming fatal autopilot crash case

19:10 NHTSA launching Put the Phone Away or Pay campaign…with five million dollars.

22:48 What does drop in Tesla Q1 deliveries mean?

30:35 Techstination report on NVIDIA’s Danny Shapiro interview

31:31 Smart Driving Summit coming up in Princeton at the end of May


   A green and white logo  Description automatically generatedElon Musk says he’ll unveil a Tesla robotaxi on August 8

K. Karosec, April 5, “ Just hours after Elon Musk claimed Reuters was “lying” about plans to ditch its $25,000 low cost EV and instead focus all its efforts on a robotaxi, the Tesla CEO announced on X that he would reveal said robotaxi in an event on August 8..”…  Read More  Hmmmm… I can’t wait for August 8.  Should be very interesting.  In less than 6 months we’ll know if he’s “read the book”. We know it won’t be an automated BRT or an automated loopBus or a liDAR-laden last-mile toaster. 😊 Alain


A logo for a company  Description automatically generatedNVIDIA automotive VP says AI and more just getting started

F. Fishkin, April 4, “With robots, self driving vehicles, new AI being used for virtual nurses and much more, the crowds at NVIDIA’s GTC conference were wowed….to say the least.   Speaking on the Smart Driving Cars podcast, NVIDIA VP for Automotive Danny Shapiro said the company’s latest computing platform is opening a lot of doors…

“Our new generation of technology that we’re bringing out called Blackwell, that’s the new platform, we’re going to bring that into the cars as well in our next generation of SOC for autonomous.  But the kind of sea change is all about generative AI and we’ve been talking about this for over a year with Chat GPT.  But it’s not just text, it’s every type of data being transformed and being generated for ways to re-think how people do their jobs and be able to do it better.”

And Shapiro says NVIDIA is just getting started.”…”  Read More  Hmmmm… Yup.  And Danny will be speaking to my students on Wednesday and, hopefully, be an active participant in my 6th Summit at the end of May.  Alain


    Musk outlines plans to increase Starship launch rate and performance

 J. Foust, April 6, “SpaceX could attempt to land a Starship booster as soon as the vehicle’s fifth flight as Elon Musk outlined plans to increase both the flight rate and the performance of the launch vehicle….

The goal of the fourth flight is for the Starship upper stage to get through the “high heating regime” of reentry and make a “controlled splat” into the ocean, he said. On the third flight, Starship broke up during reentry.

Musk said SpaceX also wants to bring the Super Heavy booster back intact on the next flight, having it land “on essentially a virtual tower” in the Gulf of Mexico. That would allow the company to proceed with an attempt to bring the booster back to Starbase for a landing.

“If the landing on the virtual tower works, then we will actually try on Flight 5 to come back and land on the tower,” he said. “That is very much a success-oriented schedule, but it is in the realm of possibility.”…”   Read More  Hmmmm…  I’m going to the fourth, and, if the booster is successful, I’m definitely going to the fifth.  Imagine being able to watch it take off and watch it land.  Wow!!! Now that is a heck of a bucket list item.  Alain


A blue square with white letters  Description automatically generated    Super impressed by the latest Tesla FSD 

O. Cameron, April 2, “Super impressed by the latest Tesla FSD. It drives eerily natural, and handled very weird scenarios with no hesitation.
I’ve ridden for hundreds of hours in driverless cars, and although it’s not perfect and I’m a tiny sample, this is exciting!
And no, not an April Fools…..”
Read More  Hmmmm…  Pretty impressive comment from someone who knows what it takes to do what.  Alain


A red and white logo  Description automatically generated  Tesla Transitions FSD from Beta to Supervised with Release of v12.3.3: Semantics or Legitimate Upgrade?

M. Euxarraga,  April 1, “Tesla has finally taken the training wheels off, well, almost. After years of including the word “Beta” every time Full Self-Driving is mentioned, the company is now going with FSD (Supervised). Is it just a rebrand? Maybe, but there is no doubt that there is a significant upgrade from the previous versions of FSD Beta, and it certainly requires more than just a number upgrade, but a full freshening up of the name.

The Significance of “Supervised”

The latest update came with a message to the inbox on the Tesla app, which was highly anti-climatic for those waiting for a Cybertruck message. However, this software update might be as groundbreaking as the Cybertruck in the auto sector.

The transition to FSD (Supervised) acknowledges the current state of Tesla’s autonomous technology—it’s incredibly advanced and offers significant safety improvements, yet just like before, it still requires driver oversight. This change is a nod to the regulatory landscape and Tesla’s cautious approach to autonomy, ensuring drivers remain engaged and responsible while utilizing the system.” …” Read More  Hmmmm…  Hopefully this is both a legitimate upgrade and also a desperately needed and long overdue beginning of a rebranding, the semantics of which focus on today’s reality rather than some future expectation that may only be achieved asymptotically at some distant future.  Alain


A black numbers on a blue and white background  Description automatically generated  Tesla is dragging Apple into its upcoming fatal Autopilot crash,

Andrew Hawkins, April 31, “Tesla is going to court next week over the role its Autopilot system played in a fatal crash in 2018 — and it wants Apple to testify in its defense.

Tesla wants to prove that Apple engineer Wei “Walter” Huang was playing a video game on his phone at the time his Autopilot-enabled Model X smashed into a safety barrier along US Highway 101 in Mountain View, California, in 2018. And now, Huang’s family, which is suing Tesla for wrongful death, is claiming that Tesla is secretly working with Apple to aid in its defense.

In a pretrial motion filed this week, lawyers representing Huang’s family accused Apple of “engaging in a secret discovery ‘work around’ to help support Tesla in its defense of the pending case.”

…….” Read More  Hmmmm…  I don’t have enough information to comment on this specific tragedy and wouldn’t presume to weigh in on how it is being litigated. But I do have larger questions to ask: Why hasn’t Apple done more to curb the mis-use of their iPhones while one is driving? Why haven’t consumers demanded better safety protocols? Don’t iPhones record when one hits the “ I’m not driving” button?  Alain & Elizabeth


    Tesla (TSLA) releases Q1 2024 deliveries: disastrous results

F. Lambert,  April 2, “Tesla has released its Q1 2024 delivery and production numbers: confirming the suspicion that it is not growing anymore.

It’s even worse than most people anticipated.

Tesla Q1 2024 Expectations

As we have been reporting in the last few weeks, the expectations for Tesla’s Q1 2024 deliveries are all over the place.

Last month, the Wall Street consensus was around 470,000 deliveries, but it has been consistently revised down over the last few weeks as many of them now expect quite a disastrous quarter compared to the previous one.

As of today, the consensus is 431,000 deliveries.

In comparison, Tesla had record deliveries of 484,507 vehicles last quarter for a 20% year-over-year growth rate, and it delivered 422,875 in Q1 2023.

431,000 deliveries would still be a small growth year-over-year, but it would be a massive quarter-to-quarter drop.

Tesla Q1 2024 Delivery and Production Results

Today, Tesla released its official Q1 2024 delivery and production results – confirming 386,810 deliveries for the first quarter of the year…” Read More  Hmmmm…  Not pretty, but no one is doing well these days in the EV world.  There is an enormous knee jerk to the overwhelming hype that has been placed on the shoulders of EVs.  They are good, ICEs have called their bluff, and the whole over-hyped EV thrust is being challenged. 

EVs have many great attributes, but, as with everything else, they aren’t perfect.  I was recently offered a non-Tesla electric car rental as a “manager’s special.”  I asked how I became such a terrible customer to be offered such a back handed “deal”.  When I refused “the special” (can you imagine me finding a non-Tesla charging location in advance of me trying to catch my flight back home?) the agent admitted, sotto voce, that previous customers had been caught out trying to find chargers for their rental EVs or had to wait for hours and hours while their vehicle charged at slow stations.  Who at this rental car company thought that a non-Tesla EV would be acceptable, let alone desirable, in an airport rental car situation? Bad idea jeans.  Alain


    Driverless car software company shuts down in Mountain View


Amy Larson,  April 5, “A Mountain View tech company is shutting down and laying off its staff. Ghost Autonomy launched as a startup company in 2017 designing autonomous driving software.

Ghost built software for automakers based on artificial intelligence. The company said its platform enabled a driverless vehicle “to understand and navigate the long tail of complex driving scenarios.”

The company announced on its website this week, “Ghost Autonomy has shut down worldwide operations and wound down the company as of April 3. We are proud of the substantial technical innovations and progress the Ghost team made on its mission to deliver software-defined consumer autonomy. The path to long-term profitability was uncertain given the current funding climate and long-term investment required for autonomy development and commercialization. We are exploring potential long-term destinations for our team’s innovations.”

…” Read More  Hmmmm…  Ouch! Has the AI venture gravy train left the station?  Alain


A white background with blue and red text  Description automatically generated  NHTSA Launches Put the Phone Away or Pay Campaign; Releases 2023 Fatality Early Estimates

Press release, April 1, “The campaign launches as NHTSA released new 2022 distraction data and preliminary traffic fatality data for 2023. These latest numbers underscore the toll of being distracted behind the wheel. In 2022, 3,308 people were killed and an estimated additional 289,310 people were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers.

“Distracted driving is extremely dangerous,” NHTSA Deputy Administrator Sophie Shulman said. “Distraction comes in many forms, but it is also preventable. Our rebranded campaign reminds everyone to Put the Phone Away or Pay, because distracted driving can cost you in fines – or even cost your life or the life of someone else on the road.”

People who are walking, cycling or otherwise outside a vehicle are especially vulnerable to being in danger from distracted drivers. In 2022, 621 vulnerable road users were killed in distraction-affected traffic crashes. Despite overall declines, vulnerable road user fatality rates are increasing, and distracted driving is a contributing factor to the increase in fatalities. NHTSA’s final 2022 Fatality Analysis Reporting System traffic crash data and analysis are available online.

NHTSA’s high-visibility enforcement of state distracted driving laws takes place April 4-8 and targets drivers aged 18 to 34 who, according to NHTSA data, are more likely to die in distraction-affected crashes than any other age group. The Put the Phone Away or Pay campaign is supported by a $5 million national media buy in English and Spanish on television, radio, and digital platforms. Campaign ads run from April 1-8.

NHTSA also released its latest projections for traffic fatalities in 2023, estimating more miles driven and lower fatality rates compared to 2022. The agency estimates that 40,990 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2023, a decrease of about 3.6% as compared to 42,514 fatalities reported to have occurred in 2022. The fourth quarter of 2023 represents the seventh consecutive quarterly decline in fatalities beginning with the second quarter of 2022. The estimated fatality rate for 2023 decreased to 1.26 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, down from the reported rate of 1.33 per 100 million VMT in 2022. Estimates also show that VMT in 2023 increased by about 67.5 billion miles, a 2.1% increase over 2022.”..….” Read More  Hmmmm…  Well, there is some good news here, but shouldn’t NHTSA be doing more with Apple and Google to deter our abuse of phones while driving?  What is the dollar value (not to mention physical and emotional devastation) of the carnage caused by phone misbehavior? How effective is a $5M media campaign expected to be? Alain


6th Princeton SmartDrivingCars Summit May 29 -> 31, 2024, Princeton NJ 6th  SmartDrivingCars Summit Evening May 29 -> May 31, 2024


Alain Kornhauser, March 8, “We promise civil and lively discussions as to how to improve the Quality-of-Life (QoL) for many while disrupting the QoL to as few as possible.  Focus will be on the business aspects…

Giving Oneself a Ride

  • Latest on ADAS Safety, Functionality, Regulation and potential Collaboration (given anti-trust relaxation), consumer value    

Getting a Driverless Ride

  • By people and goods using public roads
    • “Proof-of-Concept” (Safety Update and Last “50 feet” delivery concepts )
    • “Proof-of-Market” (Arizona, California, Texas, …  rural & beyond)
    • “Proof-of-Policy/Politics/Sociology” (Regulation + Opportunities for Collaboration on Safety (given anti-trust relaxation.))
  • By people and goods on private property.
    • “Proof-of-Concept” (Safety Update)
    • “Proof-of-Market” ( Return-on-Investment (RoI) focus on: Private “ways”, Manufacturing, Ports, Terminals, Warehouses, Mining, Farms)
    • “Proof-of-Policy/Politics/CorporateGovernance” (OSHA, Unions )


  • MOVES – Style Deployments “anywhere”.  (See Example)
    • Design, Analysis, Simulation, Animation & Business Case

….” Read More  Hmmmm… Please pencil in the dates. We are to make publish the sponsorship and registration pages.  Given the success that we’ve had with the past Summits and the quality of the program that we’ve been able to assemble to date, we fully expect to be sold out. Some sponsorship opportunities remain available. If interested, please simply contact me via email for ‘right-of-first refusal” penciled-in commitments”. Hope you’ll be able to join in with us. Alain



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6th  SmartDrivingCar



May 29 (evening) -> May 31, 2024

Princeton, NJ

Save The Date!!

Serious engagement among those seriously involved in the Automation of Mobility

Preliminary Program


We promise civil and lively discussions as to how to improve the quality-of-life (QoL) for many while disrupting that quality to as few as possible.


For those Giving Themselves a Ride:

“Proof-of-Concept” (Latest on ADAS Safety & Functionality)

Proof-of-Market” (Dealer Sell-through, OtA updating, Insurance implication)
“Proof-of-Policy/Politics/People (NHTSA’s role)

For those Serving People who Need a Ride:

“Proof-of-Concept” (Safety, Arizona & California Updates),

Proof-of-Market” (MOVES-Style Design, Simulation & Analysis Workshop) 

“Proof-of-Policy/Politics/People” (Customer Acclimation & Community engagement)

For those who give Rides to Non-people:

“Proof-of-Concept” (Safety & Last 50 feet),

Proof-of-Market” (Disrupting logistic networks & customer deliveries) 

“Proof-of-Policy/Politics/People” (Acclimation of road users, teamsters & OSHA)