Elon Musk has claimed Tesla cars will become self-driving by the end of 2019. The billionaire said his cars already have the ability to pilot themselves, but this suggestion was later questioned by journalists and critics.
Musk was speaking during a call to discuss Tesla’s earnings in the fourth quarter said: ‘When will we think it’s safe for full self-driving? ‘It’s probably towards the end of this year, and then it’s up to regulators to decide when they want to approve that.’
Musk has been hyperbolic about the progress of self-driving cars, claiming in 2015 his firm would have autonomous cars within two years.
Although this hasn’t quite happened, there’s no doubting the scope of his ambitions. One day, it’s hoped Tesla cars will be so advanced that their owners can program them to turn into robotic taxis earning money whilst they are at work. In this call, Musk likened Tesla’s Autopilot ‘driver assistance’ feature to a self-driving ability.
He added: ‘We already have full self-driving capability on highways. So from highway on-ramp to highway exit, including passing cars and going from one highway interchange to another, full self-driving capability is there.
However, Autopilot is designed to help people drive, not fully take over control.
In the Autopilot manual, Tesla reminds customers: ‘Never depend on these components to keep you safe. ‘It is the driver’s responsibility to stay alert, drive safely and be in control of the vehicle at all times.’