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Tesla is extremely close in achieving the level 5 autonomy, claimed Elon Musk. The level 5 autonomy means that a vehicle is capable of driving itself in every situation without any error.
Theoretically, it is the maximum level of autonomy. The “level 5” term is used to explain the future of self-driving vehicles. Such vehicles will be able to drive itself under any circumstances, on any road. All you have to do is to add the location where you need to go. There will be no conventional controls in these vehicles.
When it comes to current Autopilot driver assistance system of Tesla, it stands in mid of level 2 and level 3 autonomy. It can control steering, brakes, accelerator, and change lanes using the navigation system on highways. However, you need to be attentive all the time. Furthermore, it is not capable of driving in the cities.
At the opening of Shanghai’s annual World Artificial Intelligence Conference, Elon Musk shared a video message. He said,
"I'm extremely confident that level five or essentially complete autonomy will happen and I think it will happen very quickly. I think at Tesla, I feel like we are very close to level five autonomy."
He revealed that Tesla will complete “basic functionality” for level 5 autonomy by the end of this year. He doesn’t see any challenges except a few small issues. The only challenge is to solve these issues and put together the entire system.
When it comes to full autonomy, the year 2020 is the target for various tech companies. Many car manufacturers and tech companies claimed in the past that we will have a self-driving taxi by 2020. Whereas, it looks like we have to wait a few more years before we can sit in a self-driving vehicle.
Back in 2016, the CEO of Tesla claimed that they will improve their Autopilot system to drive perfectly in the US before 2017. Now, it seems like they have delayed the target. It is understandable as it is extremely difficult to design a driverless automobile.
Waymo is the only company offering true driverless experience in Phoenix, Arizona. A vehicle will pick you up with no driver and drop you at the desired location. However, it is restricted to a few routes only. This will not be the case with a level 5 vehicle. It will be capable of driving itself on any road in any weather.
It is still not clear what Elon Musk meant when he said “basic functionality.” In the past, Musk said that he wants Tesla vehicles to make money for their owners while they are sleeping at their home or enjoying a holiday. He told that these vehicles will be available in 2020. However, he didn’t speak on it again.