Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed plans for the release of release a self-driving system by the end of 2019, but it will require driver oversight.
Musk spoke to Tasha Keeney, Analyst at ARK Invest and Cathie Wood, Founder, CEO, and CIO at ARK Invest, about the future of Tesla and autonomous driving.
Elon explained Tesla’s competitive edge against autonomous driving peers like Waymo and talked about a key upcoming milestone for Tesla, which he thinks most people are overlooking.
Elon also shared his insights about Tesla’s autonomous strategy, and the timeline of how the process is laid out:
“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.”
But he also added 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.”
He also 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.