According to Elon Musk, we’ll see self-driving Teslas this year.
The billionaire CEO said Tesla is “very close to achieving full self-driving without human supervision”.
He made the bold claim when recently speaking via video link at an artificial intelligence (AI) conference in Shanghai.
Tesla should realize fully autonomous vehicles at some point “later this year,” he predicted.
But Musk stressed “this is only speculation”.
So, should we take what he says with a pinch of salt?
Let’s face it, Musk has a history of overly optimistic forecasts on the arrival of fully driverless vehicles.
However, he did say it feels like “we’re closer to it than we ever have been”.
At the same time, Musk praised China as a major player in AI and said he is confident the country will become a global leader in the field.
He used his speech as an opportunity to call on the government, which backed the conference, to implement more regulatory oversight for the transformative technology.
The truth is, Musk has been on the charm offensive as he’s keen to cultivate a good relationship with China.
In the past, he’s vocally opposed the deepening divide between Beijing and Washington.
It’s not hard to see why Musk wants a good relationship with the world’s second largest economy.
After all, China is Tesla’s second largest market after North America and is expected to become a major market for autonomous driving.
Add to that the fact the country also plays a key role in Tesla’s production capacity.
China is also a competitor for his other ventures like SpaceX’s satellite communications system Starlink.
At the end of the day, a number of technical breakthroughs are still needed to realise fully driverlsss cars.
The tech also raises a host of legal and regulatory issues that have yet to be addressed.
So, let’s just see what happens.