Elon Musk
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  • Waymo CEO John Krafcik said Tesla is not a viable competitor in the autonomous vehicle market. 
  • In response, Elon Musk called the company out on Twitter, saying “Tesla has better AI hardware and software than Waymo.”
  • The two CEOs have traded jabs in the past after Tesla released its “full self-driving” software, which isn’t self-driving, in beta mode to customers in the fall.
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Elon Musk fired 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” in a response to incendiary comments from Krafcik in an interview that published Friday.

In the interview with Germany’s Manager Magazin, Krafcik said Tesla is “no competitor at all” when it comes to producing autonomous vehicles. He said Tesla is only developing 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 continued. “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 current 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 driver's wheel. YouTube videos when the feature was released show the "driverless" feature still needs correction at time when it comes to avoiding medians or stop signs.

See 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 bluntly: "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 car's hit the road in Phoenix, as an entirely driverless ride service.

The two CEOs have taken shots at each other 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 offers "full self-driving capability." Waymo announced they would be opting to use the terminology "autonomous driving" instead.

Read the original article on Business Insider