The topic of self-driving cars can get very dicey at times. Many luddites hate the idea of AI cars, or outright fear the prospect. Others can see the appeal, but are skeptical about execution.
Either way, the writing is on the wall, and we tend to side with the likes of Elon Musk, as proponents of self-driving cars. In fact Musk recently stated he thinks Tesla’s autonomous cars will be getting significantly more capable this year.
As you may know, there are five levels of autonomy for vehicles. Most of our lives we have been at level one, but in the last decade cars have been regularly released with higher capabilities. Now, some cars are level three, and Tesla has been aggressively pushing level four.
Level five, where the cars can drive themselves in all conditions a human could, that’s the pie in the sky. Now Elon Musk, speaking remotely at an event in Shanghai, has claimed Tesla will “have basic functionality for level five autonomy this year.”
I am extremely confident that level or essentially complete autonomy will happen, and I think will happen very quickly. I think at Tesla, I feel like we are very close to level five autonomy.
If you really pick apart Musk’s words, he says Tesla will have “basic functionality” of level five. I don’t know how you could have only a little bit of something that by definition must be total. Maybe he means they will have it, and their customers won’t.
Of course regulators are a major hurdle to get over, especially with level five. With level four, detractors can be made to understand people must still pay attention, ready to take over.
At its core, self-driving is a safety enhancement, which aids human drivers. Level five is where that statement can be confused, especially by those who don’t think the system is inherently less flawed than humans.