Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., arrives at court during the SolarCity trial in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday, July 13, 2021. Musk was cool but combative as he testified in a Delaware courtroom that Tesla's more than $2 billion acquisition of SolarCity in 2016 wasn't a bailout of the struggling solar provider. Musk was triumphant in that case, but he's got plenty more legal trouble to wriggle out from. (credit: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
If there was any doubt that Tesla CEO Elon Musk knew the company's much-watched 2016 self-driving demo was staged,
emails obtained by Bloomberg
should lay that to rest. "Just want to be absolutely clear that everyone’s top priority is achieving an amazing Autopilot demo drive," Musk wrote in an email. "Since this is a demo, it is fine to hardcode some of it, since we will backfill with production code later in an OTA update."
Musk saw little wrong with this strategy, saying, "I will be telling the world that this is what the car *will* be able to do, not that it can do this upon receipt," he wrote. But instead of making this clear, the video,
released to the world via Musk's Twitter account
, opens instead with white text on a black background telling the viewer that "the person in the driver's seat is only there for legal reasons. He is not doing anything. The car is driving itself."
Musk took to Twitter on the day of the video's release to tell his followers that
the car could read parking signs
, and it knew not to park in a disabled spot.
He also claimed
that someone could use the "Summon" function on a car parked on the other side of the country.