Elon Musk confident Level 5 autonomy will be achieved in 2021

Tesla CEO Elon Musk was in Germany today to personally accept the Axel Springer Award that honoured his many life accomplishments.

As part of the award ceremony, Musk sat down for a lengthy discussion with Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer. The pair discussed a variety of topics including his children and where he’ll be sleeping tonight (Musk said on a couch at Giga Berlin to “get a feel for the place”).

Naturally another topic also came up, one that is at the forefront of every Tesla owner’s mind right now with the Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta software out in the wild. That is when the automaker will achieve full Level 5 autonomous driving.

With the hundreds of videos that have been published so far showing off the already impressive abilities of the FSD beta software, it has not reached full autonomy, or what’s known as Level 5 autonomy. At that level, the driver doesn’t need to pay any attention and can essentially have a nap while the car drives you around.

Image via synopsys.com

Instead, the current FSD beta software is more at a Level 3, or maybe even Level 2 by some critic’s standards, where driver monitoring is still required, including the occasional intervention.

When asked when Tesla will achieve full Level 5 autonomy, Musk said he was extremely confident it would happen in 2021, but wasn’t so certain on when it will be approved, saying once it is achieved it will be difficult to argue the safety benefits of autonomous vehicles.

“I’m extremely confident of achieving full autonomy and releasing it to the Tesla customer base next year. There’s an uncertain period of time for how long regulatory approval will take…but if you are able to accumulate billions of km of autonomous driving and look at the accident rate…then it’s difficult to argue.”

It is important to not confuse what Musk said above with when the FSD beta software will be released to the public. The CEO said as recently as this week he still hopes to have a wider release before the end of the year, and to hopefully expand the testing to include Canada as well.

You can see the full discussion below, which will start at the point where they discuss autonomous vehicles.

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