At the Stanford FutureFest, Tesla CEO Elon Musk gave his two cents about the progress for fully autonomous cars, given the rapid pace of industry developments. Where he originally predicted that we are no more than three years away from this reality, he confidently updates his prediction to just two years.
In the talk, Musk was referring to level 4 autonomous vehicles, which the NHTSA (The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) describes as vehicles capable of performing “all safety critical driving functions and monitor roadway conditions for an entire trip,” whether the vehicle is occupied or not.
“When I say level 4, I mean level 4 autonomy with the probability of an accident is less than that of person,” Musk adds.
See the test of the early tech in the video below.
However, Musk emphasizes that his prediction of two years applies specifically for the technology and not necessarily commercial availability.
Depending on regulations, it could take anywhere from a year to half a decade for fully autonomous vehicles to be seen on the road (this will also depend on the jurisdiction). Nevertheless, Tesla’s current generation of Autopilot will probably be already included in their vehicles, ready to be enabled once it is ready for use.
In addition, Tesla is also about to reveal a major announcement regarding the latest Autopilot update. To date, Tesla has already tested version 7.1 of the software, which apparently includes major UI improvements and a new self-parking feature, driver-mode and autopilot restrictions.
At the official launch of the Autopilot in October, Tesla confirmed that there is a team of about 50 employees working on the software of the Autopilot and a team of 100 people have been working on the hardware package. And they are looking for more people to aid in the fight.
Ramping up the Autopilot software team at Tesla to achieve generalized full autonomy. If interested, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 20, 2015