During a conference call today, Elon Musk talked about Tesla’s progress in level 4 fully autonomous driving and while he didn’t want to make an announcement on the call, he said that it is coming sooner than people think:
“What we’ve got will blow people’s minds, it blows my mind …it’ll come sooner than people think.”
Musk’s most recent prediction placed the technology being ready in Q4 2017, around the time Model 3 will enter production.
Of course, Musk always emphasises that the technology will be ready long before regulators will approve the technology for the public.
But as Tesla showed during the implementation of the Autopilot, the automaker introduces the necessary hardware in its fleet and adds features later through over the air software updates.
Not one to back away from making outlandish claims, Musk was particularly enthusiastic about Tesla’s prospect in self-driving today:
“It blows me away the progress we are making. And if it blows me away, it’s really going to blow away other people too when they see it for the first time.”
When asked whether level 4 autonomous driving is a hardware or software problem at the moment, he said that the hardware necessary for self-driving currently exist, it’s only a question of software.
Elon added that Tesla is focusing on developing an advanced narrow AI and improving its advanced neural maps. He also added the system needs to be able to run on a “reasonably small computer that can fit in the car.”
An announcement is expected by the end of the year. In June, when asked directly if the Model 3 will be autonomous, Musk looked like he was about to give a direct answer, but after a few seconds of hesitation he said that there will be another big event “maybe toward the end of the year” during which he will talk in more details on the subject.
He then added that it will be “really big news” when he starts talking about it and that Tesla will do the “obvious thing”.
The “obvious thing” is now expected to be fully self-driving technology. With all the hype, anything else would be somewhat disappointing.
Featured Image: A member of the media test drives a Tesla Motors Inc. Model S car equipped with Autopilot in Palo Alto, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg