World’s first fully self-driving car will be ready this year, Elon Musk claims

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Tesla’s Autopilot software, which relies on various cameras and sensors to operate, can be updated remotely.

‘I’m very confident about full self-driving functionality being complete by the end of this year,’ he says. ‘It’s because I’m literally driving it’

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the electric car maker will have fully self-driving vehicles on the road by the end of the year.

During an earnings call with investors on Wednesday, the serial entrepreneur revealed that he is already testing an updated version of the firm’s Autopilot software on his commute to work in Los Angeles.

“It’s almost getting to a point where I can go from my house to work with no interventions, despite going through construction and widely varying situations,” he said.

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Tesla (TSLA): Elon Musk says ‘very close’ to level 5 autonomy complete

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Tesla (TSLA): Basic functionality for level 5 autonomy is complete this year, says CEO Elon Musk.

Today, Musk virtually attended the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai and participated in a Q&A session.

Musk oversees several projects involving AI, but the most prominent one is Tesla’s effort to deliver a full self-driving level 5 system.

At the conference, Musk briefly discussed Tesla’s effort to reach full self-driving and showed great confidence in delivering such a system soon:

I am extremely confident that level or essentially complete autonomy will happen, and I think will happen very quickly. I think at Tesla, I feel like we are very close to level 5 autonomy.

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Here’s how quantum computer supremacy will impact self-driving cars

 

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Quantum supremacy, achieved?

The news recently was agog with the claim that the so-called and highly sought “quantum supremacy” had been achieved via an effort undertaken by Google researchers.

Not everyone agreed though that the Google effort warranted waving the superlative supremacy flag.

That’s not to say that the use of their 54-qubit Sycamore processor wasn’t notable, and in fact, does provide another handy stride toward achieving viable quantum computing, but whether it was the vaunted moment of true supreme magnificence is something that many would argue is premature and supremely debatable.

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Florida will allow autonomous cars with no safety drivers on public roads starting July 1

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The new law is intended to make Florida competitive with other states that have welcomed self-driving vehicles and testing.

Self-driving vehicles without any safety driver in the vehicle will be allowed on Florida roads starting July 1.

As Florida’s governor signed the new bill into law, he stated the intention is to remove “barriers to the advancement of autonomous vehicles” in the state.

Anyone who is onboard is also exempted from laws against texting or other distracted-driving activities in the vehicle.

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Tesla Navigate on Autopilot drives itself poorly, Consumer Reports finds

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Tesla says it has improved its self-driving Navigate on Autopilot system with its latest software update. Consumer Reports begs to differ.

Last month, Tesla updated its Navigate on Autopilot software to allow its cars to change lanes automatically, without prompting or warning the driver. This gives the system the ability, for example, to navigate highway interchanges by choosing the appropriate lane. The system fulfills Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s promise to develop a system that can drive itself from highway on-ramps to off-ramps without intervention (though several system warnings note that the driver still has to pay attention, and it will shut off if the driver doesn’t hold the steering wheel for too long.)

Only, Consumer Reports says that the system does a poor job changing lanes and that watching over the system and correcting its mistakes is more work for drivers than just driving themselves.

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The very human problem blocking the path to self-driving cars

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It was a game of Dots that pushed Erik Coelingh to rethink his entire approach to self-driving cars. Coelingh, Volvo’s head of safety and driver assist technologies, was in a simulator, iPad in hand, swiping this way and that as the “car” drove itself, when he hear an alert telling him to take the wheel. He found the timing less than opportune.

“They gave the message when I was close to getting a high score,” he says. Jolted away from the absorbing task, he had no idea of what was happening on the “road,” or how to handle it. “I just realized,” he says, “it’s not so easy to put the game away.”

The experience helped confirm a thesis Coelingh and Volvo had been testing: A car with any level of autonomy that relies upon a human to save the day in an emergency poses almost insurmountable engineering, design, and safety challenges, simply because humans are for the most part horrible backups. They are inattentive, easily distracted, and slow to respond. “That problem’s just too difficult,” Coelingh says.

And so Volvo, and a growing number of automakers, are taking you out of the equation entirely. Instead of developing autonomous vehicles that do their thing under most circumstances but rely upon you take the wheel in an emergency—something regulators call Level 3 autonomous capability—they’re going straight to full autonomy where you’re simply along the ride.

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U.S. to allow cars without steering wheels

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Cars without steering wheels will be allowed under certain conditions, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said today in an 80-page report.

The report gives guidelines, which are voluntary. Precise rules, which are binding, have yet to be spelled out. But the policy clearly is to cut rules whenever possible while reserving the right to tighten regulation if problems should emerge. “When regulation is needed, USDOT [U.S. Department of Transportation] will seek rules that are as non-prescriptive and performance-based as possible,” the report says.

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