Tesla investment in autonomous driving program to exceed $10 billion this year

  • April 7, 2024

It takes some serious investment to pursue self-driving. This was highlighted by Elon Musk in a recent post on social media platform X, when he stated that Tesla’s cumulative investment in its self-driving program would be well over $10 billion this year. 

Musk’s comment on Tesla’s cumulative investment in self-driving came as a response to an EV advocate who speculated on the electric vehicle maker’s training process for Tesla’s advanced driver-assist systems. Tesla’s work on training its fleet for self-driving has been a notable topic as of late, especially after the company announced that its FSD fleet has exceeded 1 billion cumulative miles to date. 

But as per the CEO in a response on X, Tesla’s cumulative investment in training computing, data pipelines, and video storage would exceed $10 billion this year. Musk noted, however, that even this amount is dwarfed by the company’s $250 billion investment in its fleet, a majority of which should be able to achieve autonomous driving in the future. 

“It has been staggeringly difficult to make generalized self-driving work, requiring all that you describe above and more. The investment in training compute, gigantic data pipelines and vast video storage will be well over $10B cumulatively this year. But that is nothing compared to the ~quarter trillion dollars in cars on the road with Tesla-designed AI inference computers being trained by their drivers,” Musk wrote. 

While the amounts that Musk recently cited on X were extremely large, such an investment does seem well-spent considering that Tesla has produced over 6 million cars to date. Tesla’s $10 billion investment in its self-driving program could also be considered a pretty good use of resources since FSD is already generating some revenue, however limited for now. 

For context, tech giant Apple reportedly spent $10 billion over a decade in its attempts to develop its own car, which was supposedly heavily focused on autonomy. Simply put, one of the world’s most valuable companies spent $10 billion on a vehicle that never came to be, while Tesla spent the same amount to develop its self-driving program. Between the two companies, Tesla definitely seems to be the one that has something to show for it. 

Credit to: Simon Alvarez