Tesla is releasing a new version of Smart Summon in coming days updated with data from 1 million uses, and is looking to reach functional full self-driving by the end of 2020, according to CEO and co-founder Elon Musk.
Tesla, which released its latest Full Self-Driving (FSD) feature Smart Summon last month, is now working on the final steps to FSD – navigating traffic lights, stop signs and windy roads – and Musk believes that it will solve this by the end of 2019.
And by the end of 2020, the software to allow Tesla cars to drive themselves will be “reliable enough that you do not need to pay attention in our opinion,” Musk told analysts on the company’s earnings call on Wednesday afternoon (US time).
It will then be up to local regulators to decide whether a vehicle with FSD is allowed to drive on public roads without human supervision. But Musk mde it clear that a future of autonomous cars is stepping ever closer and cannot be ignored.
Full Self-Driving will also increase the value of Tesla vehicles enormously, Musk saud, and will be something everyone will want in part because Tesla hopes to use the software to allow owners to deploy their vehicles in a fleet of “robo-taxis”, receiving a return upon their investment.
“That transition, that flipping of the switch from a car that is not a robo-taxi to one that is … will be biggest step change in asset value in history by far,” said Musk.
Smart Summon – which operates at slow speeds – joins Navigate on Autopilot (NoA) which has been enabled in the US for some twelve months now.
NoA assists drivers in changing lanes as well as exiting and entering busy freeways – a godsend in Tesla’s congested home state of California.
The initial release of Smart Summon – which is designed to be used to summon a vehicle from as far as 65 metres away in a car park or similar private roadway – drew considerable media attention as people posted videos of near prangs with other vehicles.
Smart Summon has now been used over 1 million times since its release in September enabling the Californian electric vehicle (EV) maker to announce an “approved” software update for the feature will be released in coming days.
“Last month we released our latest software V10,” said Musk at the EV maker’s Q3 earnings call. “Most importantly it includes the first version of Smart Summon, which has now been used 1 million times.
“In the next week or so, we will be releasing an approved version of Smart Summon will be release taking into account all the data from those 1 million attempts.
“It really illustrates the value of having a massive fleet because it allows us to collect these corner cases and learn from them … and become rapidly better, just as Navigate on Autopilot did on the freeway.
Tesla noted in its Q3 earnings update letter use of Autopilot is actually safer when compared to accident rates of the national US fleet.
“During Q3, we registered one accident for every 4.34 million miles driven in which drivers had Autopilot engaged,” the company wrote.
“This compares to the national average of one accident for every 0.5 million miles based on NHTSA’s most recent US data.”
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.