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Tesla is likely to achieve Level 4 autonomy in 2022, says Elon Musk, when certain milestones in the development of full self-driving (FSD) are achieved. The data show that Tesla's system performs better than a human driver for preventing accidents.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently took part in the Lex Fridman podcast, where he discussed a number of important and interesting topics. Among other things, Musk said the company could reach Level 4 autonomy in the next year. He pointed out that the rate of disengagement has been dropping rapidly in FSD Beta and it is likely to achieve a significantly lower rate of accidents than an average human next year. After achieving a sustainable result, Tesla will still have to prove its capabilities to regulators, which can also take some time.
“Then there's going to be a case of, okay, we now have to prove this to regulators…I think it's got to be at least two or three times safer than a human, so two or three times lower probability of injury than a human."
The classification of the development up to the self-driving vehicle comes from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and describes the extent to which the vehicle can and may take over the tasks of the driver. The levels of autonomous driving range from 0 with no assistance systems at all to Level 5, which describes fully autonomous driving.
Level 0 _ No Automation
Level 1 _ Driver Assistance
Level 2 _ Partial Automation
Level 3 _ Conditional Automation
Level 4 _ High Automation
Level 5 _ Full Automation
Of course, this classification in itself is imprecise. According to this description, Tesla is currently at Level 2, but in fact, it is already much more advanced than any other autonomous driving system. If a driver can use an autonomous system without driver supervision only occasionally and only under certain and very limited conditions—as with the Honda SENSING Elite safety system—it is wrong to classify it as Level 3 autonomy. This is because, in fact, such functionality does not at all reflect the real state of affairs.
Tesla's autonomous systems can drive most of the time with only minor driver intervention, and this is why the SAE classification cannot be used for an objective assessment of autonomous vehicle systems. However, Musk's words about reaching Level 4 autonomy give us an idea of the time when Tesla will significantly expand the functionality of its FSD.
© 2021, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.