Automakers around the globe are all racing to build the first fully-autonomous production vehicle. At the moment though, most, if not all of these vehicles, are still in concept form or are undergoing testing. There doesn't seem to be a clear leader in the self-driving vehicle race among manufacturers for the time being, and we might not see any fully-autonomous cars on the roads for years to come... or so we thought.

According to Automotive News, CEO Elon Musk said that they are very close to achieving Level 5 autonomous driving in a video message at the opening of Shanghai's annual World Artificial Intelligence Conference. Specifically, he says that he is confident that Tesla will have the “basic functionality for Level 5 autonomy” completed this year.

“I'm extremely confident that Level 5 or essentially complete autonomy will happen, and I think will happen very quickly,” said Musk.

Musk did not disclose further details regarding Tesla's Level 5 autonomous driving technology. Considering Tesla already has the semi-autonomous Autopilot feature in their vehicles today, it would not be surprising if the EV builder has started testing more advanced self-driving technology.

For reference, Level 5 autonomous driving equates to fully-automated driving which doesn't involve human intervention. It is essentially self-driving car technology as the vehicle will be capable of navigating roads without driver input.

So will we actually see a working fully-autonomous Tesla later this year? We don't know yet. The more important question to ask is will people be buying self-driving cars from Tesla if they do arrive later this year.

Source: Automotive News Europe