Tesla will be able to make its vehicles completely autonomous by the end of this year, founder Elon Musk has said.
It was already “very close” to achieving the basic requirements of this “level-five” autonomy, which requires no driver input, he said.
Tesla’s current, level-two Autopilot requires the driver to remain alert and ready to act, with hands on the wheel.
But a future software update could activate level-five autonomy in the cars – with no new hardware, he said.
Speaking via video, Mr Musk told the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai: “I’m extremely confident that level five – or essentially complete autonomy – will happen and I think will happen very quickly.
“I feel like we are very close.
“I remain confident that we will have the basic functionality for level five autonomy complete this year.
“There are no fundamental challenges remaining.
“There are many small problems.
“And then there’s the challenge of solving all those small problems and putting the whole system together.”
Real-world testing was needed to uncover what would be a “long tail” of problems, he added.