Elon Musk, Tesla’s eccentric CEO, said in a pre-recorded video that he is extremely confident that level five or virtually complete self-driving car autonomy will happen soon. In the same video, the real-life Tony Stark highlighted that he is reasonably optimistic that Tesla will have the basic functionality of level five car-autonomy developed by 2021. Elon Musk also confirmed that he is confident that achieving fully autonomous driving technology could be accomplished with the hardware in Tesla today by only making software improvements.
However, this does not necessarily mean that Tesla drivers will simply run a software update and sit back and relax while the smart technology does all the hard work. There are many regulatory approvals needed for this to become possible in advanced countries such as the USA. Physical and cybersecurity rules must have to be regulated accordingly, as car-crashes with Teslas on autopilot are not uncommon.
Tesla’s CEO has been hoping to achieve such technology for years as this is not the first time, he said a fully autonomous car is right around the corner. In 2016, the electric vehicle and clean energy company, even started asking its users to spend money on a “Full Self Driving” feature – a paid option that four years later still requires drivers to be fully attentive and ready to start driving at any time.
The video was shown at the opening of Shanghai’s annual World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) and addressed current and potential employees at Tesla Giga Shanghai. The positive vibe coming out of the video should probably not be considered as breaking news but as a company communication aimed to boost the enthusiasm of Tesla China workers and attract the attention of more developers who might be considering working for Tesla’s Chinese factory.
Cybersecurity experts say that technically any car equipped with modern technology is vulnerable to viruses, bugs, and hackers – at the end of the day, those vehicles are just giant moving computers. And if such machines are not equipped with the right cybersecurity software, sometimes they end up hacked by bad actors. For obvious reasons, one of the Elon Musk’s many tasks would be to make sure that hackers find it as hard as possible to break in into the systems of self-driving cars.
A mass-produced car that does not require human intervention certainly sounds appealing, but most likely, we won’t see it in 2020. However, Elon Musk also has a history of proving people wrong and smashing ambitious goals. Who knows, if Tesla gets the needed workforce to boost its factory in Shanghai, that may help the car-maker end up developing the technology it has desired for years, sooner than later.