Tesla is “very close” to achieving level 5 autonomous driving technology, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Thursday, referring to the capability to navigate roads without any driver input. According to NHTSA, level 5 autonomous refers to a fully-autonomous system that expects the vehicle’s performance to equal that of a human driver, in every driving scenario–including extreme environments like dirt roads that are unlikely to be navigated by driverless vehicles in the near future.
“I’m extremely confident that level 5 or essentially complete autonomy will happen and I think will happen very quickly,” Musk said via a video message at the opening of Shanghai’s annual World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC). “I remain confident that we will have the basic functionality for level 5 autonomy complete this year.”
Tesla is not the only electric car company working on Level 5 autonomous driving technology. Other aautomakers and tech companies including Alphabet’s Waymo and Uber Technologies are also investing billions in the autonomous driving industry. However industry insiders have said it would take time for the technology to get ready and public to trust autonomous vehicles fully.
The California-based automaker currently builds cars with an Autopilot driver-assistance system. Tesla is also developing new heat-projection or cooling systems to enable more advanced computers in cars, Musk said.
Industry data showed Tesla sold nearly 15,000 China-made Model 3 sedans last month.
Tesla has become the highest-valued automaker as its shares surged to record highs and its market capitalisation overtook that of former front-runner Toyota Motors Corp