Musk: ‘self-driving’ Tesla software ready for wide rollout by the end of this year

Test versions of the Full Self-Driving System (FSD) are already in use by nearly 100,000 Tesla owners. When the software is ready later this year, it could be offered on a “wide scale” in the US and Europe, said Musk today at a conference in Norway. According to him, such a broad rollout still ‘depends on approval by governments’.

Tesla’s goal is to make the FSD feature fully self-driving in the future, which is known as Level 5 of autonomous driving. The current version only offers level 2, where drivers remain responsible and have to keep their hands on the wheel. Musk promised by the way in 2016 already that Teslas would be fully self-driving by the end of 2017.

US regulator conducts investigation

Tesla’s FSD and AutoPilot driver assistance systems are under fire over safety concerns. For example, the American road safety regulator is investigating a series of accidents in which Teslas with Autopilot switched on had driven on emergency vehicles.

According to Musk are self-driving cars safer than cars driven by people. The chance of an accident per kilometer driven would be smaller.

Soon much more expensive

FSD offers more capabilities than AutoPilot, including maneuvering autonomously through city and residential streets and stopping at stop signs and traffic lights. Last week, Musk announced that adding FSD will soon become significantly more expensive for Tesla owners: it will cost $15,000 from September 5, instead of the current $12,000.

Focus on spaceflight Starship

Speaking at the Norwegian Congress, Musk said completing development of Tesla’s FSD is one of two things he’s currently focused on. The other is the first spaceflight of SpaceX’s Starship rocket, which is also expected to take place by the end of this year.

With Starship, SpaceX hopes to make space travel much cheaper. The reusable rocket can be used for manned missions to the moon and later to Mars.

‘Oil and gas extraction remains necessary’

Musk went on to say that the world must continue to extract oil and gas to “maintain civilization.” “Realistically, I think we need to use oil and gas in the short term, otherwise civilization will crumble,” Musk told reporters at the Norwegian conference. “One of the greatest challenges the world has ever faced is the transition to renewable energy and to a sustainable economy. This will take several decades.”

According to Musk, offshore wind energy parks in the North Sea, in combination with energy storage in mega batteries, could become an important source of energy. “It could be a strong, sustainable source of energy in the winter.” Tesla also plans to sell electricity to households in the US.

Source: RTL Nieuws by

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