Tesla Motors Inc still hasn’t managed to get its Autopilot tech deployed in most of the markets where it sells the Model S because of problems with regulators. The update was greeted as a sign of clear execution from Tesla Motors, despite being at least a month late. Wall Street seemed thrilled with the software after the problematic launch of the Model X shook the firm’s shares.
On Twitter on Monday morning, or late Sunday night on his time, Mr. Elon Musk said “Autopilot release to Europe and Asia pending regulatory approval. Hopefully get the ok in the next few weeks.” It’s not clear what bodies Mr. Musk is dealing with, or why Tesla Motors, just a week ago, thought that the update would come through a lot sooner.
Tesla Motors sells Autopilot
Autopilot is likely to be a big part of the Tesla Motors sales pitch for the Model S, and the Model X, going forward, so getting it in cars in Europe, and around the world, is of prime importance. Mr. Musk says that the update should arrive within weeks, but he’s been known to be pretty hopeful when it comes to timeline forecasts.
It is not clear what the precise problem keeping the Tesla Motors Model S update out of cars in Europe is. Mr. Musk’s tweet doesn’t say what body he is having trouble with. Europe does not, for the most part, have a unified set of traffic laws. The union’s ability to coordinate on something like self-driving laws is very limited. Asia certainly doesn’t have unified traffic laws.
The biggest market that Tesla Motors has on the continent, in Norway, isn’t even a member of the EU. Switzerland, another major market for Tesla, is also outside of the rules of the EU. That means that the update could roll out on a country by country basis. Mr. Musk may have figured out some way to deal with all of the parties in one go, or Tesla Motors may prefer to have all of its ducks in a row before sending the software out.
It was previously reported, by Time among others, that the Autopilot update would roll out to Model S owners in Europe and Asia about a week after it arrived in the US. Elon Musk has confirmed that that isn’t true, and those drivers will be waiting quite a while to catch up.
Lobbying for Tesla Motors
Tesla Motors is a small firm, and most of its sales come in a single market. The United States is a very heavy focus for the firm, and it’s only rivaled by places, like Norway, that have very high state support for EVs.
The US is going to be the focus for a firm for a long time to come. That means that things like Autopilot, the Model X, and the Model 3 are all likely to arrive significantly later in Europe and Asia than they will in the United States.
Until Tesla Motors builds itself into a firm big enough to deal with supply chain issues, regulatory issues and dispersed global manufacture, that’s going to continue.
For now Tesla Motors will have to keep working out the kinks of the Autopilot system that it has built for Model S drivers. Right now the biggest hurdle seems to be with those that make the rules in Europe, but there’s likely a lot of challenges ahead as Elon Musk attempts to change the world, little by little.