Billionaire CEO Elon Musk said on Thursday that electric car maker Tesla is on track to offer fully self-driving cars this year, in his latest vision for the future after a series of bold and failed predictions about the long-awaited technology.
- Speaking via videoconference at an artificial intelligence conference in Shanghai, Elon Musk said he believes Tesla is “very close to achieving fully autonomous driving without human supervision,” according to media reports.
- He expected Tesla to build self-driving vehicles “sometime this year.”
- It was just speculation, Musk insisted, referring to his past of overly optimistic expectations about the arrival of fully autonomous vehicles.
- Still, he feels we’re “closer than ever,” he said.
- Musk also praised China as a major player in the field of artificial intelligence and said he believed the country would become a world leader in the field.
- He called on the government, which supported the conference, to put more regulatory oversight on this transformative technology.
Musk is keen to maintain good relations with China and has strongly opposed the growing rift between Beijing and Washington. It is understood that Mr. Musk wants to have a good relationship with the world’s second largest economy. The country is Tesla’s second largest market after North America, and is expected to become a key market for autonomous driving, a key priority for Tesla going forward. China also plays a major role in Tesla’s production capacity, as well as being a competitor to Musk’s other businesses, such as SpaceX’s Starlink satellite communications system. His attendance at the conference follows his first visit to the country since the bird flu pandemic, during which he met senior officials and toured the Tesla factory in Shanghai. His calls for Beijing to regulate AI dovetail with other efforts he has made to rein in the technology to some extent. A few months ago, he, along with other technology leaders, called for a pause in advanced AI research to better assess the risks it poses to humans. Other leaders believe AI could lead to human extinction, a sentiment Mr. Musk has shared in the past.
What we do not know
It’s unclear whether Musk’s vision for self-driving cars will come to fruition on schedule. The billionaire has a history of unsuccessful predictions in this area – and others – and regularly predicts that self-driving vehicles will come into being today. A number of technical breakthroughs are still needed to fully achieve driverless cars and experts are divided on when they think this will actually happen. Rolling out the technology would be another matter entirely, and the technology raises a host of legal and regulatory issues that have not yet been addressed with the rigor necessary to get self-driving vehicles on the streets.
251.1 billion dollars (230.6 billion euros). This is Forbes’ estimated net worth of Elon Musk, according to the real-time tracker. Much of Musk’s wealth comes from his stake in Tesla, one of the many valuable companies he co-founded. Others include rocket company SpaceX, neurotechnology startup Neuralink, and tunnel construction company The Boring Company. It controversially acquired social media platform Twitter for $44 billion (€40 billion) in 2022.
Translated article from the American magazine Forbes – Author: Robert Hart
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