Will Tesla serve more fully autonomous rides in 2025 than Waymo?

For example, Waymo claims 700k fully autonomous rides in 2023, which was more than ~0 Tesla rides that were fully autonomous in 2023.

To define fully autonomous, I'll use the simplest definition which is that no human operated any direct controls inside the vehicle like the steering wheel or pedals. (UPDATE: And no human in the car is actively monitoring the driving being ready to intervene.) A ride must be of a non-trivial distance (e.g. crossing the parking lot does not count).

I will delay resolution until both companies report results or until the result is extremely clear, or until it's January 2027, where I'll make an informed guess.

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I see potential ambiguity in that definition of fully autonomous. Suppose that Tesla self-drives totally fine, except that it's oblivious to pedestrians. As long as a human is in the driver's seat ready to hit the brakes, you could technically have thousands of rides in which no human intervened. The human was only there "just in case" but it's a pretty huge "just in case" and doesn't count as autonomy.

So I propose that "rides with no human in the driver's seat" is the right proxy for this question. Waymo's 700k number sounds like it refers to rides by public users and with no human backup driver. (I'm several of those 700k -- it's amazing!)

Alternatively we could say level 4 autonomy as certified by someone other than Tesla or Waymo? I don't know what "certified" would mean but maybe consensus of some form suffices. I believe current consensus is Waymo is level 4 and Tesla is level 2.

In conclusion, I think by any reasonable definition of "fully autonomous" Tesla is not on track to catch up to Waymo, and am betting accordingly. But I'll feel more confident if we clarify that a ride with a human in the driver's seat whose attention is needed to make it safe doesn't count, even for rides where the human didn't happen to need to intervene.

@dreev Cool. I think it might be a bit too restrictive to say no one can be in the driver's seat.

I think we could add that the person in the car is not actively monitoring the situation -- seems reasonable. But I also think this is mostly unnecessary, since if active monitoring is necessary, the car would most likely require you to put your hands on the wheel every so often, like it does now.

@JamesGrugett Ah, yeah, no active monitoring sounds perfect.

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