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Musk: Autopilot to cover all driving modes by end of next year

(Tencent News) - Tesla CEO Elon Musk frequently updates his timeline for fully autonomous driverless cars, according to foreign media reports. Today, he updated that timeline again when talking about the emergence of AI technology.

Speaking during a Q&A session at South by Southwest, Musk said he expects fully autonomous driving technology to start being widely used in any aspect of driving "within the next 18 months".

Musk's predictions about the timing of the arrival of fully automated driving technology are of particular interest to many Tesla owners, as they purchased the latest Tesla models with Autopilot 2.0 and 2.5 hardware installed, which are said to eventually enable fully automated driving capabilities through software updates.

Musk had previously given a timeline of "two years" and today reduced that timeline to "18 months". He added that he believes "autonomous driving will cover all driving modes by the end of next year."

While he didn't speak directly about Tesla, he has previously said that the company's goal is to be the first to sell fully autonomous driving technology that is safer than human drivers.

During the Q&A, Tesla added that he believes Autopilot 2.0 will be two to three times safer than human drivers.

Since 2015, when Tesla first started developing Autopilot, Musk has often suggested that self-driving technology is only "two years" away from real implementation.

Last year, Musk said Tesla was aiming for Level 5 Autopilot, the highest level of self-driving capability, and at the time he gave a timeline of two years.

Tesla is already selling cars with "full autopilot", only now the feature is disabled. However, the company claims that it will eventually enable full self-driving capabilities through software upgrades once self-driving technology is proven to be safer than human drivers and legally approved.

Tesla will eventually demonstrate the feature when it conducts a driving test across the east and west coasts.

Musk announced last month that they are now able to test driving across the east and west coasts, but they have to write custom code to "create" routes of travel, and can't yet create routes of travel through a Level 4 or Level 5 self-driving system.

He expects that true "full self-driving capability" will be demonstrated within the next three to six months, and that owners will begin to see many of the new features in this technology.

When Autopilot 2.0 was released in late 2016, Musk said the features would be pre-installed in Tesla cars in 2017, but he later admitted that the development process was more difficult than expected and that Tesla was behind schedule. (Compiled by/Jingdong Lin)

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