Audi says the new A8 will be the market’s first vehicle with Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities but according to Elon Musk, fully-autonomous vehicles will arrive long before most believe.
During his recent TED Talk, Tesla’s chief executive said that Level 5 self-driving cars will be in production in just two years, meaning sometime during 2019.
According to the SAE, a vehicle capable of Level 5 autonomous driving can drive itself without any human intervention in all driving scenarios and could safely manoeuvre through the streets without an occupant on board. The most advanced systems currently on sale are Level 2 systems where a vehicle can drive itself in certain conditions but requires the driver to remain attentive and ready to take control at a moment’s notice.
In October 2016, Tesla started producing vehicles which it claims have all the hardware to support Level 5 autonomous driving. This means that the automaker’s vehicles ‘simply’ need the software before they can start driving around by themselves.
However, while Musk thinks the company will have the technology to enable full self-driving, regulators are unlikely to permit customers from using such functions until after 2020.
Tesla says that it plans to complete a trip from Los Angeles to New York without any human intervention by the end of 2017.