Elon Musk: Level 5 Autonomous System is almost there
Last February, Tesla CEO promised us a “fully autonomous car” by late 2020. He now remembered about his promise, reassuring us that the breakthrough is “very close.”
Just what exactly this is supposed to mean remains unclear. The SAE categorization system for self-driving vehicles holds that Level 5 is the highest possible level that excludes the need for a driver, operating perfectly under any conditions. Level 4 allows for the driver to leave the seat for some time, while Level 3 enables them to switch attention away from the road and the steering wheel temporarily – but remain ready to react if the situation becomes too difficult for the AI to process.
Tesla’s current Autopilot feature is filed under Level 2, which means the car drives itself, but the driver has to keep hands on the steering wheel at all times, ready to take over. Many people tend to ignore this advice, which explains the vast majority of accidents with Tesla cars.
This leaves us in a situation where we are supposed to believe that Elon Musk will somehow upgrade its autopilot tech from Level 2 to Level 5, which appears highly unlikely. In all likelihood, what we will be seeing towards late 2020 are some basic SAE 5 features that are really present in some SAE 3 designs as well. Furthermore, even SAE Level 3 cars still don’t have the necessary street approvals in the United States.
To summarize: whatever it is that Tesla comes up with in terms of self-driving solutions later this year, it will NOT be drivable in the near future.
Editor Andrew Raspopov