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Elon Musk: Tesla Full Self-Driving in early access this year, without supervision next year

Elon Musk has clarified Tesla’s timeline to achieve “Full Self-Driving,” which he thinks could be in the early access program, at least in a limited way, by the end of the year.

Tesla famously has one of the most aggressive timelines to full self-driving in the industry, but there’s been some confusion about the language used by the automaker and CEO Elon Musk.

Musk has been using this “feature-complete” term that isn’t exactly clear, but he was asked to clarify it during Tesla’s Q3 2019 earnings call.

The CEO said:

Yeah, feature-complete, I mean, it’s the car able to drive from one’s house to work, most likely without interventions. So it will still be supervised, but it will be able to drive — it will fill in the gap from low-speed autonomy with Summon. You’ve got high-speed autonomy on the highway, and intermediate speed autonomy, which really just means traffic lights and stop signs.

In short, it means adding city driving to Autopilot, which is currently meant for highway driving, and the new Smart Summon, which handles low-speed driving in parking.

Musk added:

So feature-complete means it’s most likely able to do that without intervention, without human intervention, but it would still be supervised. And I’ve gone through this timeline before several times, but it is often misconstrued that there’s three major levels to autonomy. There’s the car being able to be autonomous, but requiring supervision and intervention at times. That’s feature complete. Then it doesn’t mean like every scenario, everywhere on earth, including ever corner case, it just means most of the time.

The CEO said that he believes a version of that will be in Tesla’s early access program by the end of the year:

While it’s going to be tight, it still does appear that we will be at least in limited early access release of a feature-complete Full Self-Driving feature this year. So, it’s not for sure, but it appears to be on track for at least an early access release of a fully functional Full Self-Driving by the end of this year.

That’s in just over two months.

After feature-complete, Musk says that they are two other levels of refining the full self-driving to enable driving without driver supervision and convince regulators to enable the system:

And then, there’s another level which from a Tesla standpoint, we think the car is safe enough to be driven without supervision. Then the third level would be that regulators are also convinced that the car can be driven autonomously without supervision. Those are three different levels.

Tesla also reiterated that they will keep increasing the price of the FSD package, which currently costs $6,000.

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