The all-electric vehicle company Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk have always been keen on providing an autonomously driving vehicle. The company's "Full Self-Driving" software is not yet perfect and has gone under fire. Just how far off is Tesla from delivering a fully autonomous vehicle out into the road?
Tesla Level 5 Autonomy for Electric Vehicles
Elon Musk has always been promising a fully self-driving software for his EV company for quite some time, and underdelivering, as The Verge said. Back in 2018, Musk promised the "long awaited" V9 or Version 9 of the software would start rolling out in August of that year. Later in 2019, he said over a million cars would be running without needing a driver "a year from now."
Experts have agreed that what Tesla has been offering in terms of a vehicle running on completely driver-less actually falls short of what defines a self-driving vehicle.
The current Autopilot program being offered by the company is said to be safe; however, it isn't perfect and can in fact cause accidents. The system fails to perform certain driving actions that can cause catastrophic problems in the real road.
Tesla has been in the spotlight for multiple investigations over the vehicle crashes involving Tesla vehicles over the years.
This year, Musk promised that the FSD V9 beta is shipping out soon, the basic functionality of "Level Five" of its software to be completed by year's end, according to INC. He is "extremely confident" that complete autonomy for driving cars will happen and it will happen quickly, he said in a video message to the World Artificial Intelligence Conference last month, July 9.
But, in his earlier tweet, there's a caveat to his statement: he "didn't expect it to be so hard."
Haha, FSD 9 beta is shipping soon, I swear!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 3, 2021
Generalized self-driving is a hard problem, as it requires solving a large part of real-world AI. Didn’t expect it to be so hard, but the difficulty is obvious in retrospect.
Nothing has more degrees of freedom than reality.
Major Problem With Tesla "Full Self-Driving" Software
When Musk admitted of the struggles involved with creating a "Full Self-Driving" software that is safe to use on the road and perfectly executes real-world driving scenarios, fans went ahead to cheer the CEO on. Nonetheless, experts are still currently skeptical of this software delivering on its scheduled debut.
Level 5 autonomy is as autonomous as a vehicle can get, being able to fully self-drive without the need for human assistance. It is supposed to be able to drive in all circumstances, doing away with the steering wheel and driver's seat.
The problem with creating a Level 5 software is that it is not just a difficult feat, experts in artificial intelligence or AI and robotics say it is next to impossible, noted INC.
Humans make a ton of decisions in a day. Human drivers use intuition to make these rapid and rational decisions when encountering new situations, anything from different pedestrians they can encounter on the road or how the driver in the car behind theirs is trying to cut ahead. Human observation and intuition allow the driver to make appropriate decisions on the spot.
To transfer that level of rapid response to novel experiences into code is a tedious task, needing to account for each and every possible road scenario. This could be as simple as completely stopping on a "Stop" sign, to more unusual encounters like an overturned vehicle on the road. All of this must be taken into account in the software for it to be truly fully self-driving.
As impressive and powerful computers are today, it has a long way to go in achieving the same level of adaptive decision making the human brain can accomplish.
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