SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) – U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) is “very close” to achieving level 5 autonomous driving technology, Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Thursday, referring to the capability to navigate roads without any driver input.
“I’m extremely confident that level 5 or essentially complete autonomy will happen and I think will happen very quickly,” Musk said in remarks made via a video message at the opening of Shanghai’s annual World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC).
“I remain confident that we will have the basic functionality for level 5 autonomy complete this year.”
However industry insiders have said it would take time for the technology to get ready and public to trust autonomous vehicles fully.
The California-based automaker currently builds cars with an Autopilot driver-assistance system.
Tesla is also developing new heat-projection or cooling systems to enable more advanced computers in cars, Musk said.
Industry data showed Tesla sold nearly 15,000 China-made Model 3 sedans last month.
Tesla has become the highest-valued automaker as its shares surged to record highs and its market capitalisation overtook that of former front-runner Toyota Motors Corp (7203.T).
Reporting by Brenda Goh in Shanghai, Yilei Sun and Yingzhi Yang in Beijing; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Stephen Coates