Tesla Director of Autopilot Software says Elon’s statement about “Autopilot” capabilities does not match engineering reality

Michael DeKort
4 min readMay 7, 2021

PlainSite recently discovered that a key section of California DMV Tesla Robo-Taxi / FSD Notes were not redacted properly. The fonts were set to white so all you had to do to see them was copy, paste and change the color. The key statement shows Tesla’s head of autonomy believe Elon Musk’s public statements “do not match engineering reality”.

Link to the document -


The Statements

“DMV asked CJ to address, from an engineering perspective, Elon’s messaging about L5 capability by the end of the year. Elon’s tweet does not match engineering reality per CJ. Tesla is at Level 2 currently. The ratio of driver interaction would need to be in the magnitude of 1 or 2 million miles per driver interaction to move into higher levels of automation. Tesla indicated that Elon is extrapolating on the rates of improvement when speaking about L5 capabilities. Tesla couldn’t say if the rate of improvement would make it to L5 by end of calendar year.”

“DMV asked about regular software updates being released and how Tesla evaluates the potential advancement of levels of autonomy. Tesla indicated that they are still firmly in L2. Before they release updates to customers, the AP team tests and drives the vehicles every day. They would know when they are getting closer to L3 like performance well in advance of a potential release.”

First, Elon stating it can be L5 is ridiculous. Given how poorly the system works and the fatal sensor stationary/crossing object design flaw it is clear the system is nowhere near L3 let alone L4 or L5. (Which Tesla stipulates in the second quoted paragraph above.) Beyond this Elon previously Elon stated he already has a version of Autopilot that is 6 9s. It has been several weeks since that April 14th tweet and nothing has been downloaded to his human Guinea pigs who paid $10,000 for the privilege. I believe Elon’s statement there and not sending that updated code to his customers shows he is admitting true “autopilot” and “FSD” will never exist.

Of course, this is all avoidable

More detail here

Elon Musk is now telling us a legitimate “Autopilot” and “Full Self-Driving will never exist

· https://imispgh.medium.com/elon-musk-is-now-telling-us-a-legitimate-autopilot-and-full-self-driving-will-never-exist-1f5a5da7f844

The Autonomous Vehicle Industry can be Saved by doing the Opposite of what is being done now to create this technology

· https://medium.com/@imispgh/the-autonomous-vehicle-industry-can-be-saved-by-doing-the-opposite-of-what-is-being-done-now-b4e5c6ae9237

SAE Autonomous Vehicle Engineering Magazine — Simulation’s Next Generation (featuring Dactle)

· https://www.sae.org/news/2020/08/new-gen-av-simulation

Tesla “autopilot” development effort needs to be stopped and people held accountable

· https://medium.com/@imispgh/tesla-autopilot-development-effort-needs-to-be-stopped-and-people-arrested-f280229d2284

Tesla ditching radar and Elon’s explanation show us how bad and how deadly this system is

· https://imispgh.medium.com/tesla-ditching-radar-and-elons-explanation-show-us-how-bad-and-how-deadly-this-system-is-1fa7d069956b

Simulation can create a Complete Digital Twin of the Real World if DoD/Aerospace Technology is used

Using the Real World is better than Proper Simulation for AV Development — NONSENSE

· https://medium.com/@imispgh/using-the-real-world-is-better-than-proper-simulation-for-autonomous-vehicle-development-nonsense-90cde4ccc0ce

My name is Michael DeKort — I am a former system engineer, engineering and program manager for Lockheed Martin. I worked in aircraft simulation, the software engineering manager for all of NORAD, the Aegis Weapon System, and on C4ISR for DHS.

Industry Participation — Air and Ground

- Founder SAE On-Road Autonomous Driving Simulation Task Force

- Member SAE ORAD Verification and Validation Task Force

- Member UNECE WP.29 SG2 Virtual Testing

- Stakeholder USDOT VOICES (Virtual Open Innovation Collaborative Environment for Safety)

- Member SAE G-34 / EUROCAE WG-114 Artificial Intelligence in Aviation

- Member CIVATAglobal — Civic Air Transport Association

- Stakeholder for UL4600 — Creating AV Safety Guidelines

- Member of the IEEE Artificial Intelligence & Autonomous Systems Policy Committee

- Presented the IEEE Barus Ethics Award for Post 9/11 DoD/DHS Whistleblowing Efforts

My company is Dactle

We are building an aerospace/DoD/FAA level D, full L4/5 simulation-based testing and AI system with an end-state scenario matrix to address several of the critical issues in the AV/OEM industry I mentioned in my articles below. This includes replacing 99.9% of public shadow and safety driving. As well as dealing with significant real-time, model fidelity and loading/scaling issues caused by using gaming engines and other architectures. (Issues Unity will confirm. We are now working together. We are also working with UAV companies). If not remedied these issues will lead to false confidence and performance differences between what the Plan believes will happen and what actually happens. If someone would like to see a demo or discuss this further please let me know.



Michael DeKort

Non-Tribal Truth Seeker-IEEE Barus Ethics Award/9–11 Whistleblower-Aerospace/DoD Systems Engineer/Member SAE Autonomy and eVTOL development V&V & Simulation