U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla is “very close” to achieving level 5 autonomous driving technology, Chief Executive Elon Musk announced recently, referring to the vehicle’s capability to navigate the roads in complete autonomy and without human intervention.
This level of autonomous driving requires absolutely no human attention. There is no need for pedals, brakes, or a steering wheel, as the autonomous vehicle system controls all critical tasks, monitoring of the environment and identification of unique driving conditions like traffic jams.
Musk added that he was confident Tesla would attain basic functionality of the technology this year, in remarks made via a video message at the opening of Shanghai’s annual World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC), Reuters reported.
Earlier in June, Andrej Karpathy Tesla’s head of AI, admitted that the automaker’s approach to self-driving is harder than what most companies in the industry are doing, but he says it’s the only way to scale.
There are dozens of high-profile companies working on solving self-driving and virtually as many different approaches, but there are two main differences: those who rely mainly if not entirely on computer vision, and those who rely on HD mapping, Electrek wrote.
During his participation in a CVPR’20 workshop on “Scalability in Autonomous Driving”, Karpathy shared a video of Tesla’s self-driving development software demonstration doing a turn and then Waymo’s self-driving prototype doing the same.
He highlighted how it looks exactly the same, but the decision making that is powering the maneuver is completely different.
“Waymo and many others in the industry use high-definition maps. You have to first drive some car that pre-maps the environment, you have to have lidar with centimeter-level accuracy, and you are on rails. You know exactly how you are going to turn in an intersection, you know exactly which traffic lights are relevant to you, you where they are positioned and everything. We do not make these assumptions. For us, every single intersection we come up to, we see it for the first time. Everything has to be sold — just like what a human would do in the same situation.”
The engineer described the map-based approach as a “non-scalable approach,” adding that Tesla has to be able to handle any situation like it is seeing it for the first time.
Karpathy explained how they accomplish that with only “a few dozen people” working on neural networks.