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While the concept in itself is quite crazy overall the cars Tesla already has on the market are quite advanced and able to do things most people would never imagine cars being able to do in this day and age. Moving forward is inevitable and with that someday we will have fully autonomous cars. 

In recent times Musk has made claims that Tesla is on the verge of developing the technology that they need in order to create fully autonomous cars. This he said earlier this month and it has since been making headlines with good reason. According to Forbes Musk said in a video recorded for a Chinese AI conference that his company will have the basic ‘functionality for level 5 autonomy complete this year.’ This though is something that even with the technology will still take a little time to put together and get going properly. 

Forbes wrote as follows covering the topic:

Tesla will have essentially fully autonomous self-driving vehicles this year, CEO Elon Musk said in a video recorded for a Chinese AI conference. And it can be achieved with the existing technology inside Teslas shipping today.

“I remain confident that we will have the basic functionality for level five autonomy complete this year,” he said. “I think there are no fundamental challenges remaining for level five autonomy.”

There are many small problems, Musk acknowledged, and there’s the challenge of not just solving them but putting the whole system together. And even when almost complete, there could be challenges.

“You’re able to handle the vast majority of situations,” he told the World AI Conference in Shanghai. “But then there will be something very odd.”

Level zero self-driving is complete human control. Level five is completely autonomous is any situation: no human driver is required. Currently shipping systems are typically thought to be level two or three. Level four is self-driving, but generally only in select conditions and on certain roads.

Of course, having level five autonomy in the lab is not the same as delivering it to customers. And there’s the whole matter of regulatory approval as well. So Musk’s declaration that Tesla has is extremely close to solving full autonomy and self-driving for cars should not necessarily be taken as a commitment to delivering that capability to customers in 2020.

This would essentially be like Tesla’s Autopilot system but even better and on a much more intense scale. It should also be noted that Musk also seems to have said that those currently using Tesla’s won’t need any kinds of upgrades to use the new features once they finally role out. Basically, he believes that full autonomy ‘can be accomplished with the hardware that is in the Tesla today.’ Yes, these are some intense claims but I guess in the end only time will tell. 

Sure, they will need some software improvements, but overall things should go quite smoothly for those who want the upgrade but already own a Tesla. I know, this might be a bit hard to wrap your head around, it was for me but in the future, this could be huge. Yes, the idea of cars being running themselves rather than being driven by humans overall is a bit alarming but as a whole, it’s where the future is heading. 

The BBC reported as follows when covering this topic:

Tesla will be able to make its vehicles completely autonomous by the end of this year, founder Elon Musk has said.

It was already “very close” to achieving the basic requirements of this “level-five” autonomy, which requires no driver input, he said.

Tesla’s current, level-two Autopilot requires the driver to remain alert and ready to act, with hands on the wheel.

But a future software update could activate level-five autonomy in the cars – with no new hardware, he said.

Speaking via video, Mr. Musk told the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai: “I’m extremely confident that level five – or essentially complete autonomy – will happen and I think will happen very quickly.

“I feel like we are very close.”

“I remain confident that we will have the basic functionality for level five autonomy complete this year.”

“There are no fundamental challenges remaining.”

“There are many small problems.”

“And then there’s the challenge of solving all those small problems and putting the whole system together.”

Real-world testing was needed to uncover what would be a “long tail” of problems, he added.

What do you think about all of this? I for one cannot wait to see where this goes. There is no denying the advances this man and the companies behind him have managed to make throughout the years.