Elon Musk says FSD might reach L4 or L5 “later this year”

Elon Musk hasn’t always been the best at predicting the progress of Full Self-Driving (FSD), but according to the CEOs latest estimation, the company might be able to achieve full autonomy later this year.

Musk first timeline for full autonomy came all the way back in December 2015, when he said during an interview with Fortune that it will happen “in approximately two years.” Musk kept with that timeline in the months following his prediction, going on to say in October 2016 a coast-to-coast “fully autonomous” drive “without the need for a single touch, including the charging” would happen before the end of 2017.

That obviously never came to pass, and even today, nearly seven years later, that drive from Los Angeles to New York has not happened as described. Despite this, Musk has continued to say full autonomy is just around the corner, with his most recent prediction coming in January during the Q1 2023 earnings call when he said “I think we’ll do it this year.”

Six months later and Musk is still confident on that timeline. While speaking at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai on Thursday, Musk said FSD is “very close” to being able to operate without human intervention and will reach Level 4 or Level 5 autonomy before the end of this year. He did however preface this prediction by saying it is “only speculation.”

“In terms of where Tesla is at this stage, I think we are very close to achieving full self-driving without human supervision. This is only speculation, but I think we’ll achieve full self-driving, maybe what you would call four or five, I think later this year,” Musk said. (via AP)

What is interesting about this latest prediction is that Musk specifically referenced Level 4 or Level 5, whereas some of his more recent predictions have referenced FSD being safer than a human driver by a certain factor. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), Level 5 require the vehicle to operate in all areas under all conditions and not require the driver to take over control at any point. Level 4 is slightly less stringent in that it will operate in limited conditions, but the driver would still not be required to take over.

One thing that could help Tesla reach this level of autonomy is their Dojo supercomputer, which should come online next month. Once up and running Tesla will be able to process the huge amount of data from its fleet of vehicles using real-world driving scenarios to improve, which could improve FSD Beta at a rate faster than we have seen thus far.

Based on your experiences with FSD Beta, do you think Level 4 or Level 5 is attainable before the end of the year? Let us know in the comments below.

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