Tesla boss Elon Musk expects the brand’s cars to be available with fully autonomous technology before the end of 2019.
The entrepreneur said that ‘full self-driving’ would arrive this year, with Teslas able to pilot themselves entirely without drivers. He made the comments on the For Your Innovation podcast, in conversation with analyst Tasha Keeney and Ark Invest founder Cathie Wood.
“I think we will feature complete – full-self-driving – this year,” he said. “Meaning the car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up and take you all the way to your destination without an intervention, this year.
“I would say I am certain of that. That is not a question mark.”
However, without intervention doesn’t mean without observation, Musk was keen to stress.
“People sometimes will extrapolate that to mean now it works with 100 per cent certainty, requires no observation, perfectly. This is not the case,” he said. That would place the vehicle at level 2 automation – where it can safely pilot itself but the driver must keep their attention on the road at all times and be prepared to intervene.
Musk doesn’t expect this to be the case for long, though. He said: “My guess as to when we would think it is safe for somebody to essentially fall asleep and wake up at their destination? Probably towards the end of next year.”
Tesla’s existing Autopilot tech is also a level 2 system, but it’s not capable of operating in all conditions – and doesn’t allow the driver to take their hands off the wheel. It’s sparked controversy as well, despite the firm claiming a significantly reduced accident rate when its cars are running on Autopilot. Others, however, say the Autopilot name implies ‘eyes-off’ autonomous driving and lulls drivers into a false sense of security.