Despite the overtly dangerous and frankly, incredibly stupid demonstrations online of people leaving the driver’s seat completely while the car “drives itself”, it should be clear that Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” system – currently in Beta testing for a select group of owners – is by no means anywhere near full self-driving. At most, it is a Level 3 autonomous system – which is an incredible feat, but calling it self-driving is overselling it, by a lot.
But that’s not going to stop eccentric billionaire and avid Twitter user Elon Musk from making some overzealous claims. According to a report by Electrek, the Tesla CEO said that he is “extremely confident” his company will release a fully-autonomous driving system to customers in 2021.
The comment came after Musk won the Axel Springer Award in Germany this past Monday. When the publication’s CEO Mathias Döpfner asked about when Tesla will be delivering full autonomy to customers, Musk replied: “To actually answer your question, I am extremely confident of achieving full autonomy and releasing it to the Tesla customer base next year.”
While Musk admits that the answer is significantly simplified and the regulatory landscape over the world – or even in the United States – could throw a wrench in his plans, he did express his belief that “at least some jurisdictions are going to allow full self-driving next year.”
Elon Musk’s predictions about autonomous driving has become somewhat of a running joke among the industry. He famously (infamously?) predicted that its cars will have full autonomous driving capabilities, and there will be one million Tesla Robotaxis on the roads, both by the end of 2020.
But of course, neither of those have happened thus far, four days into December 2020. The first we’ve already debunked above, and the second – well, there are approximately zero of them on the roads.
So will Tesla release the actual full self-driving Level 5 autonomous driving system next year? That’s a tough question to answer – not just because of Elon Musk’s history of predictions, but also due to the long and arduous certification process for these systems to be approved throughout the world. We certainly won’t keep our hopes up, if we’re being honest.