Over the past few months, Elon Musk has been saying that Tesla is aiming to release its self-driving system by the end of 2019, but now the CEO adds that it will require driver oversight.
Musk said during a podcast with ARK Invest:
“I think we will be feature complete, full self-driving, this year – 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 intervention, this year. I would say I am of certain of that. That is not a question mark.”
That’s something that Musk has been saying a lot over the last few months, but he is now adding more “certainty” to the timeline, which is still dependent on regulatory approval.
But he is also adding that the “full self-driving system” is still going to require some driver oversight:
“However, people sometimes will extrapolate that to mean now it works with 100 percent certainty, requires no observation, perfectly. This is not the case.”
Musk adds another period within two years before Tesla’s self-driving system can work entirely without the driver.
He even said that he sees Tesla owners being able to sleep in their cars as they are autonomously being driven by the end of 2020:
“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. That is when I think it would be safe enough for that.”
The CEO believes that Tesla’s main advantage in the race to deliver a self-driving system is the amount of data it collects from its fleet:
“The reason Tesla is making rapid progress is because we have vastly more data, and this is increasing exponentially.”
He also believes that the data collection is going to be useful to show regulators that the system is safer than human drivers.
All the upcoming self-driving features will also be dependent on Tesla’s new Autopilot Hardware 3.0, which consists of a new computer optimized to run Tesla’s neural net.
The new device is supposed to be introduced in “early 2019” and then Tesla is expected to release some increasingly more advanced autonomous features on vehicles equipped with the new computer.
I don’t like how Elon calls this “full self-driving” yet it would still require drivers to actively supervise the system.
Then it’s just like Waymo’s current test program but instead of paid test drivers in the driver’s seat, Tesla has paying customers in the driver’s seat.
As for the timeline, I am sure Elon has a better idea of it than me, but I am still skeptical.
Based on the recent DMV report, it looks like Tesla hasn’t started its full self-driving program with employees yet. I think Elon’s timeline would be a lot more believable after they get some feedback from that test program.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe the podcast.