Elon Musk caught the automotive industry’s collective attention this week when he claimed that Teslas will have the ability to drive themselves entirely on their own, without the need for human intervention at any point, by mid-2020.

The outspoken entrepreneur also claimed Tesla will have 1 million robotaxis on public roads by next year, which customers will be able to hail using a dedicated Tesla-developed app. Through this service, Tesla owners will also be able to rent their vehicles out as robotaxis and make money while the vehicle is not in use, the automaker said. Tesla-owned robotaxis will also be found in areas with low customer concentration.

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This alleged Level 5 autonomy will be enabled by Tesla’s Full Self Driving software chip, which Musk described as the best chip in the world. This claim was met with pushback from Nvidia, a software company, which said that its Drive Xavier chip still has better processing power than Tesla’s FSD chip.

Nvidia wasn’t the only company to express doubt over Musk’s claims. Industry experts believe full-self driving vehicles that never require human intervention are still decades away. John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, which is largely believed to be the most advanced self-driving company, recently said that fully self driving cars that can drive anywhere and in any weather conditions may never be a reality.

Musk’s claims seem especially lofty in light of his claims about lidar. Light-based radar systems are used by virtually every other self-driving vehicle developer, but Musk has consistently said the technology is unnecessary for autonomous driving, with Tesla’s FSD system relying solely on cameras. He described lidar as a “fool’s errand” and said that anyone relying on the technology is “doomed,” as the sensors are expensive and unnecessary.

Tesla also rolled out updates for its existing Autopilot software this week. The system, which acts like highway cruise control with stop and go and lane keep, will now be able to change lanes and perform passing maneuvers automatically. The update is only available to beta testers at the moment, but will be expanded to all Tesla vehicles once the automaker is more confident in its abilities.

[Source: Business Insider]