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Elon Musk hopes Teslas will be fully self-driving by the end of the year

Image credit: reuters

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said he wants self-driving technology to be ready by the end of this year, with a wide release in the US and Europe dependent on regulatory approval.

“The two technologies I am focused on, trying to ideally get done before the end of the year, are getting our Starship into orbit and then having Tesla cars to be able to do self-driving,” he said, speaking at an energy conference in Norway.

“Have self-driving in wide release at least in the US and potentially in Europe, depending on regulatory approval.”

After years of delays, Tesla started rolling out over-the-air updates for its vehicles that enable “full self-driving” for eligible owners in July 2021.

Safety experts soon expressed concern that the nascent technology “lacks safeguards” after tests found that vehicles using the feature were scraping against bushes, missing turnings and even heading towards parked cars.

The US National Transportation Safety Board later called on Tesla to limit where drivers can use its vehicles’ so-called 'Autopilot' function, as well as implement a system to ensure that drivers are paying attention.

Yesterday, the owner of a Tesla Model 3 from California sued the electric vehicle maker in a proposed class action suit over Tesla cars suddenly stopping for non-existent obstacles. The vehicle behaviour was described as a “frightening and dangerous nightmare” in the lawsuit.

Addressing reporters at the conference, Musk also addressed the ongoing energy crisis, advocating for further fossil fuel extraction in the medium term.

“Realistically, I think we need to use oil and gas in the short term, because otherwise civilisation will crumble,” he said.

Asked if Norway should continue to drill for oil and gas, Musk said: “I think some additional exploration is warranted at this time.

“One of the biggest challenges the world has ever faced is the transition to sustainable energy and to a sustainable economy. That will take some decades to complete.”

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