Tesla Shares some insight on Autonomous Vehicles

Sorry for the lack of posts lately - we've been "heads down" working our tails off getting jobs and enhancing our software for the construction season starting up. In the meantime, here is an excerpt from the Tesla Motors Q1 2016 Earnings Report conference call, on May 4th, 2016. I figured not many from our circles listen to earnings calls, but this is directly related to our industry and thought it pertinent to share. Hope you enjoy!

Adam Jonas (Analyst - Morgan Stanley):
Elon, on our math your combined fleet of Model S and X are driving more than 3 million miles a day, so in just one day your cars do about 2X the distance that Google's done in the entire history of their self-driving car project.

Now while your cars aren't exactly sensor-encrusted Christmas trees with tens of thousand dollars of equipment like a retrofitted Google car, it's still a lot of miles, and I'm just wondering if you could explain to the investment community what kind of advantage this gives Tesla in the race for sustainable transport in accident-free driving, in some commercial financial terms if you could? Thanks. Or even engineering terms.

Elon Musk (Chairman, Product Architect & CEO):
I think you've pretty much asked the question and answered it. Data is everything, really, when you're trying to solve the autonomous transport problem, and having millions of miles per day of data accumulating, and then as the fleet grows, that grows proportionate to the fleet is incredibly helpful.
Particularly as we go to long-term fully autonomous driving, that that's going to require quite a lot of regulatory oversight, and I think in order for regulators to be comfortable approving that, they're going to want to see a very large amount of data, maybe billions of miles showing that the car is unequivocally safe in autonomous mode, compared to manual mode, in a wide range of circumstances, in countries all around the world, with different rules of the road, and ways of behavior.
It'll have to be something statistically significant, like billions of miles.

Adam Jonas (Analyst - Morgan Stanley):
Okay, well that leads to my follow-up, which is once high volumes of statistical data for your autonomous miles are collected and analyzed, I have this image if you and some CEOs of other auto companies, and CEOs of other software and tech hardware firms testifying in Congress about the urgent need to replace these dangerous purely human-driven cars on the road with available, affordable, and proven, even L2, L3 technology, or semi-autonomous, that's ready for introduction, to dramatically improve the epidemic of traffic fatalities. It's like a national public health and safety priority.

Am I crazy, Elon, about that type of role for people in your position to play, armed with the data empirically? And if I'm not crazy, then how soon do you think it would take for tech firms like you to have a sufficient quantity and quality of data to be able to make such a scientifically proven case? Thanks.

Elon Musk (Chairman, Product Architect & CEO):
Tesla will argue for autonomous driving, but we're not going to argue against manual driving. And I believe people should have the freedom to choose to do what they want to do, and yes, sometimes those things are dangerous.
But freedom is important, and if people want to drive, even if it's dangerous, they should be allowed to drive in my view. But then the autonomous safety systems should be in there, such that even if you're in manual mode, the car will still aid you in avoiding an accident.