According to it’s 2017 year-end report submitted to the California DMV, Tesla has not tested any vehicles on public roads in California in autonomous mode for the reporting year 2017 (November 30, 2016-December 1, 2017).
This news comes in the midst of mounting frustrations over delays in Tesla’s Full Self Driving feature, which Tesla currently sells as a $3000 option in all of its new cars, to be enabled in a future date following extensive software validation and regulatory approval. According to Tesla’s marketing print, Full Self Drive means, complete autonomous driving. You simply tell the car where it needs to go and the car will drive to the final destination with no input from the passenger.
Tesla reports that they have continued to conduct testing to develop autonomous vehicles via simulation, in labs, on test tracks and on public roads outside of California. They also point out that they are actively testing their autonomous driving feature via “shadow-mode” in customer cars. In shadow-mode, Full Self Drive features run in the background of real customer vehicles and provides data on how it would perform in real world, real time conditions. This allows Tesla to compare its autonomous driving features with Autopilot and with actual driver actions.
The report also points out that Tesla is the only participant in the autonomous driving program with a fleet of hundreds of thousands of actual customer cars on the road with billions of miles of driving records received from real drivers via over-the-air transmissions, effectively allowing it to develop their self-driving system more efficiently than other manufacturers.
You can read the full report to the California DMV here.