Elon Musk Again Promises Unsupervised Full Self-Driving for "Later This Year"

Elon Musk is again confident that Tesla will have fully-autonomous vehicles "later this year." This is not the first time Tesla's CEO has made similar predictions. Musk admitted that he was wrong in the past, but he feels this time, Tesla is "closer to it than it ever has been."
Elon Musk again promises unsupervised full self-driving 9 photos
Photo: Tesla | Edited
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Full Self-Driving is one of the most talked-about features of Tesla cars and a dream that never seems to come true. Elon Musk repeatedly promised that vehicles should be able to drive themselves, the first time in 2015, long before FSD software was even a thing. At the time, Musk thought autonomous driving should be easy to achieve and predicted "complete autonomy" by 2018. In April 2017, Tesla's CEO said during a TED talk that drivers should be able to sleep in their cars while in motion in around two years. I guess that's where those abusing FSD Beta got the idea.

2019 was the first time Elon Musk predicted that FSD would come "by the end of the year." To be fair, he also said that it would require human supervision, at least in the beginning. He said the same in 2020 and 2021, although by then, the FSD Beta program had already started with a limited group of beta testers in the US. From there, Musk was more cautious in his predictions. Still, during the Q1 2023 earnings call in January, Musk seemed pretty confident that full autonomy would be possible this year.

The FSD Beta development pace accelerated in 2023, and those enrolled in the beta program claim that the V11.4.4 of the software has become really good. This made Elon Musk bullish again about the FSD prospects. Speaking at Thursday's opening ceremony of the 2023 World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai, Musk said Tesla is very close to achieving full self-driving without human supervision. He counts on the rapid development of artificial intelligence technology to solve the full self-driving problem much faster than predicted.

"This is only speculation, but I think we'll achieve full self-driving, maybe what you would call (level) four or five, I think later this year," said Musk. "I have been wrong about this prediction in the past, but I feel we are closer to it than we ever have been."

Elon Musk doesn't have a good track record when it comes to predictions, as he tends to be overly optimistic. Still, Tesla has achieved pretty much everything it promised, just not when Musk promised it. Level 4 autonomy means the car drives itself without human supervision in certain conditions (e.g., in certain areas, weather conditions, etc.). In contrast, Level 5 can drive everywhere in all conditions.

Musk said earlier that FSD would get out of beta with the next major release, although he didn't say when that might be. FSD Beta V12 will be "end-to-end AI, from images in to steering, brakes & acceleration out," offering a much better driving performance and safety. If Tesla releases the V12 this year, it will be the fastest-developed build, considering that V11 was launched at the end of 2022. Usually, major FSD Beta versions have taken 1.5-2 years to mature.

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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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