If you've read this blog before you've probably noticed that I'm quite sold on autonomous driving vehicles and the benefits this technology will bring to all of us. For those of you who agree that self-driving cars are just around the corner, here’s my latest update. For those of you who don’t agree, you can take a nap if you’d like.
If you haven’t already guessed, “taking a nap” is the reason for this post and sooner or later you’ll be able to get behind the wheel of your car, engage the autopilot, close your eyes and take a nap. And don’t worry, whether it’s during your daily commute or traveling cross-country, autopilot will wake you up at your destination. When will this happen?
Tesla Inc. is a manufacturer of all electric vehicles with autonomous driving capabilities. They recently released their “second generation Autopilot” hardware on their vehicles and started offering an option called “full self-driving capability”. But, there’s been some confusion as to whether or not this is true level 5 autonomy as defined by the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk said recently that the “full self-driving capability” option on Tesla’s second generation Autopilot will eventually enable level 5 autonomous driving, which means fully autonomous in any and all conditions. He also specified that this is dependent on software validation and regulatory approval. For an explanation of the 5 levels of autonomous driving, click here.
Mr. Musk also said that the best timeline for achieving level 5 is based on a coast-to-coast demo drive from California to New York without the driver touching the wheel and that this demo drive is planned to take place sometime before the end of this year. He went on to say that although the driver would not have to touch the controls or the steering wheel during the coast-to-coast demo, he doesn’t think it would be at the level where someone could sit back, relax, and take a nap. When asked when he thinks that will be, he said about 2 years away.
I can’t wait to take a trip to visit my grandchildren in Nashville and take a nap along the way...without stopping.