Elon Musk hits back at Waymo's CEO after he said Tesla was 'no competitor at all'

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Grace Kay
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Elon Musk
Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Elon Musk hit back at claims from Waymo CEO John Krafcik that Tesla is not a viable competitor in the autonomous-vehicle market.

Musk called Waymo, which began as a Google project, out on Twitter Sunday, saying, "Tesla has better AI hardware and software than Waymo." The Tesla CEO was responding to incendiary comments from Krafcik in an interview that was published Friday.

In the interview with Germany's Manager Magazin, Krafcik said Tesla was "no competitor at all" when it came to producing autonomous vehicles. He said Tesla was developing only a "really good driver assistance system."

"It is a misconception that you can just keep developing a driver assistance system until one day you can magically leap to a fully autonomous driving system," Krafcik added. "In terms of robustness and accuracy, for example, our sensors are orders of magnitude better than what we see on the road from other manufacturers."

In his tweet, Musk also referenced the high cost of Waymo cars. Krafcik told the German business outlet the autonomous cars would cost about the same amount as a Mercedes S-Class - a $100,000-plus vehicle.

Musk's jab at the price of Waymo vehicles is no surprise considering he has made it his mission to make Tesla vehicles as affordable for the masses as possible, with models starting at $38,000.

Read more: Elon Musk says he'll throw $100 million into carbon capture tech. VCs including Vinod Khosla told us these 4 startups are leading the way.

While Tesla vehicles have been known for their Autopilot system, the company released its "full self-driving" software in beta mode in October to a limited number of customers.

Tesla's "self-driving" vehicle requires a licensed human operator to sit behind the steering wheel. YouTube videos from when the feature was released show the "driverless" feature still needs correction at time when it comes to avoiding medians and stop signs.

Read also: Early Rivian investors explain the 3 factors that could make the Amazon-backed startup the next Tesla

After the software was released, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said: "No vehicle available for purchase today is capable of driving itself."

Unlike Tesla's latest self-driving software, Waymo's vehicles are designed to be operated entirely without a human driver. They are equipped with a host of sensors including lidar.

In October, Waymo's cars hit the road in Phoenix as an entirely driverless ride service.

The two CEOs have traded barbs in the past. Earlier in January, Krafcik said Waymo would be dropping the term "self-driving" from its lexicon in a jab at Tesla's $10,000 feature that says it offers "full self-driving capability." Waymo said it would be opting to use the terminology "autonomous driving" instead.

Read the original article on Business Insider