Elon Musk will highlight Tesla’s achievements in artificial intelligence during the company’s “AI Day,” which takes place on August 19.
Elon Musk’s plan for promoting gains Tesla is making in AI and as a leader within the technology sector has become somewhat awkward. The billionaire CEO’s event will occur amid signs that more rigorous U.S. government scrutiny might become.
Tesla will stream its “AI Day” event live streaming on August 19, at approximately 5 p.m. Eastern. Like the 2020 “Battery Day” presentation, analysts and investors are invited to join, though news outlets are not yet asked.
The company created the tech showcase just days after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened its most extensive investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot feature. This probe focused on 11 accidents with emergency vehicles that caused injuries and, at most, one death. Autopilot or Tesla Traffic-Aware Cruise Control was used in all of the collisions. Two U.S. Senate Democrats, Ed Markey (Massachusetts) and Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut), asked the Federal Trade Commission on August 18 to investigate Tesla’s partial automated technology using the terms Autopilot or Full Self Driving.
In a letter addressed to Lina Khan, the senators stated that Tesla’s marketing had overstated its vehicles’ capabilities. These statements are increasingly dangerous for motorists and other road users. “We urge you to investigate the potentially misleading and unfair marketing practices of Tesla’s driving automation systems in advertising and marketing and take the appropriate enforcement action to ensure that all drivers are safe.”
Tesla doesn’t have a PR team anymore. It also hasn’t responded to any requests for comment on its website and social media channels.
Autopilot, a feature in electric Teslas that the company has promoted since 2014, has been associated with numerous accidents and multiple deaths both in the U.S. and abroad. One of those is Joshua Brown’s fatal 2016 Florida crash, which killed the Model S driver. Another is Walther Huang, a deadly 2018 accident that involved a Silicon Valley engineer. NHTSA’s investigation into Brown’s accident ended in January 2017, but it did not find Tesla responsible. Huang, the Model X driver, is suing Tesla for defective technology.
Electrek is a Tesla fansite. It received an invitation to AI Day. They also provided some details on what to expect. The invitation stated, “This invite-only event features a keynote speaker by Elon, hardware, and software demos of Tesla engineers and test rides on Model S Plaid. And more.” “Attendees are among the first to view our latest developments on supercomputing as well as neural network training. They will also have an exclusive look at the future of AI at Tesla, beyond our vehicle fleet.
While Tesla stock fell after the news about the NHTSA investigation was announced earlier this week, it still rose Wednesday closed up 3.5% at $688.99 on Nasdaq trading. It is down 2.4% so far in the year.
Wedbush Securities equity analyst Dan Ives said Thursday’s event was more important for Tesla given the FSD U.S. probe. The probe was designed to demonstrate the software improvements and safety advances Tesla has made over the past decade. “The Street will be closely watching this event to get hints about the futures of AI, FSD and technological advances that further differentiate Tesla from growing competition in the EV market.”
Ives stated that Tesla’s AI and software capabilities are critical to its “long term bull thesis.” He also expects updates on Dojo’s supercomputer. “This week has been tough for Tesla. The Street needs to hear some positive news as it heads into the AI event.”
Safety advocates are concerned that Autopilot’s name implies being trusted too heavily by many drivers. Many Tesla owners have shared videos that show Autopilot acting as an autonomous system. Some even sat in the backseat while driving on the highway. Autopilot, also known as ADAS or Advanced Driver Assistance System 2, is a warning to users to ensure they have control of their vehicle at all times.
2020: A German court found that Autopilot was misleading. Tesla was banned from using that term and Full Self Driving in vehicles that are sold in Germany.
Markey, Blumenthal wrote that “there are not fully autonomous vehicles currently on the marketplace.” These limitations are necessary because drivers’ expectations can exceed the vehicle’s capabilities and lead to severe and fatal accidents.