In a major announcement, made during a virtual appearance at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai, Elon Musk has proclaimed that Tesla cars could some become completely autonomous.
The Tesla CEO has long since boasted of Tesla Autopilot’s (the Tesla self-driving system) capabilities and had confirmed in October last year that he aims to achieve level 5 autonomy “without a geofence” by the end of 2020.
Level 5 refers to the car being fully autonomous without the need for driver intervention. The lack of geofence suggests the car will be able to drive anywhere and under any conditions.
Currently, Tesla cars are able to drive at either slow or high speeds autonomously. The system operates with a combination of cameras, sensors and radars that map out the route in real time. What they have previously lacked, however, is the ability to drive at medium speeds in traffic with lights, crossroads, and other tough-to-handle scenarios.
Musk asserted “I’m extremely confident that level 5 or essentially complete autonomy will happen and I think will happen very quickly”.
He went further by stating that basic level 5 functions will indeed be capable by the end of the year.
The news comes just a week after Tesla overtook Toyota as the world’s highest valued car manufacturer.
Tesla has been collecting data from their existing cars on the road, which were around 425,000 as of last year. The cars record the information while out on the roads which can be fed into its existing technology to incorporate training routines and develop the software’s neural network.
Their cars all have Tesla Autopilot or Full Self Driving (FSD) software incorporated into them with the caveat that they are not yet fully self driving and driver input is still needed. Now Musk hopes that soon, no driver input will be needed at all.
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