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Here’s how long it’s been since Elon Musk first said self-driving is imminent

Here’s how long it’s been since Elon Musk first said self-driving is imminent

Recent weeks have seen significant turmoil for Elon Musk’s electric vehicle (EV) maker, Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA).

On the one hand, the company has been performing abysmally in the stock market, even becoming one of the biggest losers of the year so far among the major firms. On the other, there have been multiple rumors and efforts to bolster the firm including the promise of a free month-long self-driving demo for U.S. customers.

Early in April, the buzz surrounding the company has reignited twice as, first, Reuters reported that Tesla’s plans for the low-cost EV have been scrapped – a report Musk himself claimed is false – and the billionaire revealed that his firm would introduce a ‘Robotaxi’ on August 8.

Given the news has sparked significant interest – and helped TSLA stock gain significantly in the extended session – Finbold decided to examine how reliable Musk’s promises of incoming self-driving Teslas have been so far.

Self-driving to come next year ten years in a row

Unfortunately for all hopeful customers and investors in 2024, Elon Musk has a very long history of overpromising when it comes to self-driving Teslas. 

As far back as 2014, the billionaire offered assurances that his firm’s cars would be ‘90% autonomous’ by 2015 which, evidently, did not occur. 

Still, given that the wording doesn’t fall into any precise definition, it can be argued that the promise was partially fulfilled with various advancements in driving assistance.

Nonetheless, Musk has made numerous other promises of imminent self-driving cars in the years since, including – most notably – a promise of an automated trip from Los Angeles to New York in 2017 that didn’t happen, and vehicular autonomy in 2019 – which also failed to materialize.

Unfortunately, the fact that unfulfilled promises of imminent level 5 autonomy – full self-driving – have been a running theme of the last 10 years, there is reasonable doubt if Tesla is close to having sufficiently advanced technology, even with the latest developments.

On the other hand, recent breakthroughs in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), the self-driving demo, and the fact that Musk did not specify the year in his X post all indicate that this may be the first major fulfilled level 5 autonomy promise to date.

Tesla stock price chart

While level 5 autonomy is likely to boost both Tesla sales and stock market performance, its shares have, so far bereft of it, spent much of 2024 plunging.

Indeed, TSLA stock is down as much as 31.20% year-to-date (YTD) and the most recent performance does little to reassure investors.

Despite a slowdown in the downtrend, and relatively high volatility, the last 30 days saw TSLA shares drop 5.95% and the firm is 6.41% in the red on the weekly chart. 

TSLA stock 24-hour price chart. Source: FInbold

Finally, the latest full trading day saw a decline of 3.63% to $170.91 but Tesla price today, in Monday’s premarket, is 3.32% in the green on the promise of the coming ‘Robotaxi.’

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