Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess has recently admitted in leaked internal communications that Tesla has a significant lead in software development and its self-driving technology.
The leaked communications, obtained by the German publication Automobilwoche, show that Diess feels that Tesla’s fleet of 500,000 vehicles collecting data is far ahead of anyone else in the self-driving field.
“What worries me the most is the capabilities in the assistance systems. 500,000 Teslas function as a neural network that continuously collects data and provides the customer a new driving experience every 14 days with improved properties. No other automobile manufacturer can do that today.”
The lead is so large it can be hard to fully comprehend. Tesla’s Senior Director of Artificial Intelligence Andrej Karpathy recently revealed the automaker had surpassed 3 billion miles of Autopilot data.
With Tesla selling upwards of 100,000 vehicles each quarter, with that number only set to get bigger, Tesla’s lead will soon be insurmountable, if not already.
While Diess admits they still have a long way to go to catch Tesla, he apparently isn’t letting those 3 billion miles stop him from trying, saying that he has plans to put together a new software organization to implement what he calls the “Tesla catch-up plan“.
Hopefully the brains of that software organization can help VW with the software in their troubled ID.3.
These leaked communications follows a pattern of Tesla admiration from the VW CEO, having previously thanked fellow CEO Elon Musk for bringing electrification to the mainstream.