Just How Far Ahead Is Tesla In Self-Driving?

Autonomous driving cars have emerged as a hot buzz word in the automotive industry over the last few years, with companies ranging from mainstream automakers such as General Motors to Silicon Valley startups such as Waymo (backed by Alphabet) looking to make a dent in the market. However, electric vehicle pioneer Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) appears to have a sizable early lead in this space both in terms of autonomous miles driven as well as monetization of its self-driving technology. Having delivered over 780k vehicles since its inception, most of which come with pre-installed self-driving capabilities that users can unlock by paying for software, the company has developed a meaningful self-driving business. In this analysis, we compare Tesla’s miles logged with rivals and size up the near-term revenue potential for its autonomous driving software.

View our interactive dashboard analysis on Just How Far Ahead Is Tesla In The Self-Driving Race?

Tesla Is Approaching 2 Billion Self-Driving Miles Driven

  • Tesla’s total autonomous miles logged has grown exponentially from 0.1 billion in May 2016 to an estimated 1.88 billion as of October 2019.
  • This is a crucial metric, as self-driving algorithms are based on machine learning, and more training data typically makes the algorithms smarter.

Tesla’s Log Of Autonomous Driving Data Is Orders Of Magnitude Higher Than Rivals

  • Over 2018, Tesla likely logged about 500 million self-driving miles across all geographies.
  • In comparison, rival autonomous driving tech companies Waymo and GM’s Cruise drove just 1.3 million and 447k miles, respectively, in California – their primary test market, which likely accounts for a bulk of their total miles logged.

Tesla’s Lead May Be Wider Still, As It Continuously Gathers Data From All Its Vehicles

  • Tesla’s autonomous driving hardware is based on mature technology such as Radar, Ultrasonic, and Passive video, which is cheaper than some rivals who use LIDAR – a laser-based system.
  • This enables the company to equip the hardware as standard in all its vehicles, irrespective of whether or not a user enables it by paying money.
  • As the company’s vehicles are estimated to have driven over 16.8 billion miles in total thus far, this could be further enhancing Tesla’s log of driving data.

Tesla Is Likely To Make Over $1.5 Billion This Year From Self-Driving Software Sales

For more details on Tesla’s self-driving software sales, view our interactive dashboard analysis.

 

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