Tesla Full Self Driving Suite Ready by the End of 2020, Level 5 Autonomy Nears

Tesla Model S on Autopilot 1 photo
Tesla's Autopilot has been at the center of attention ever since its name was first mentioned, and there's a very good reason why. It's because it was the name itself that raised so many problems, to the point where authorities were even considering forcing the company to change it.
Despite everything, the Autopilot has moved on and continues to be one of the industry's best driving-aid suites, if not the best. It was a combination of its efficiency and the misguiding nature of its name that gave users a false sense of security resulting in several crashes and, sadly, even some fatalities. You can't blame the technology, though, as the driver is ultimately responsible for everything that happens on the road bar a physical malfunction, which was not the case.

A recent incident, however, confirmed the Autopilot (which, unlike similar devices employed by other manufacturers, doesn't use a LIDAR relying instead on video cameras, radars, and ultrasound sensors alone) still has trouble spotting white objects against a brightly lit sky four years after the Joshua Brown incident, the fatal crash that happened during similar circumstances.

Even so, Elon Musk is confident his company is going to deliver a full self-driving module soon, capable of offering Level 5 autonomy (that's the one where you put your feet on the dashboard and pop up Netflix on the phone or the vehicle's display on your way to work). During this year's World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in China, Musk was asked about the role of AI in self-driving technologies, and he was quick to bring Autopilot in the discussion.

The Tesla Motors CEO said Tesla's Full Self Driving Suite with a complete set of features (Hardware 3) would be released by the end of the year and went even further by claiming he doesn't think any fundamental challenges remain on the road to Level 5 autonomy as far as Tesla in concerned.

"I think there are no fundamental challenges remaining for Level 5 autonomy," Musk said during the conference. "There are many small problems. And then there’s the challenge of solving all those small problems and then putting the whole system together and just keep addressing the long tail of problems. So, you’ll find that you’re able to handle the vast majority of situations. But then there will be something very odd. You have to have a system figure out a train to deal with these odd situations. This is why you need real world situations. Nothing is more complex and weirder than the real world."

You can watch and listen the entire Musk segment at the WAIC below, but make sure to use headphones as the quality of the audio isn't great. The piano music thrown on top doesn't help either.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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