Tesla Model 3 robotic ’production hell’ highlights danger of automating too quickly - TechRepublic
Tesla may be one of the most high-tech car companies, but being on the cutting edge may have led to the Model 3 “production hell” that the company recently found itself in, CEO Elon Musk said in a Sunday interview with Gayle King on CBS This Morning.
When the Model 3 was announced in July 2017, the company promised that it would produce 5,000 cars per week. However, it has been building only about 2,000 per week, according to CBS.
“We got complacent about some of the things we felt were our core technology,” Musk said in the interview. “We put too much new technology into the Model 3 all at once. This should have been staged.”
Tesla’s Fremont, CA factory is widely regarded as one of the most robotic-driven assembly lines on the planet, King noted. However, Musk agreed that there were too many robots, and that the company needs more people, as robots sometimes slow production. “We had this crazy complex network of conveyor belts and it was not working, so we got rid of that whole thing,” Musk said.
“I have a pretty clear understanding of the path out of hell,” he said.
Autopilot will “never be perfect,” Musk said during the interview. “Nothing in the real world is perfect. But I do think that long term, it can reduce accidents by a factor of 10. So there are 10 fewer fatalities and tragedies and serious injuries. And that’s a really huge difference.”
Musk emphasized that Autopilot is not supposed to replace a human driver. “The probability of an accident with Autopilot is just less” when a human is at the wheel, Musk said.
Before the March fatal crash, the Model X driver had received several warnings earlier in the drive, according to a Tesla statement. The system worked “as described,” as a hands on system, Musk said.