Elon Musk said back in 2015 that in two years’ time, Teslas would drive themselves without the need for supervision from a human driver. 2017 came and passed and even though the company has made undeniable progress with its self-driving tech, its boss eventually conceded that this was a harder task to achieve than he initially anticipated.
Musk recently visited the country of Brazil, where he went in order to meet and talk talk to its president, Jair Bolsonaro, regarding giving internet access to remote populations in the Amazon rainforest. This mostly refers to rural areas that are far from large settlements, exactly the kind of place that could benefit from the SpaceX Starlink satellite internet system; Starlink is currently operational in 32 countries, but Elon Musk wants to see it go global.
But aside from talking about the Amazon internet issue, the Tesla boss also briefly mentioned that he believes that by the same time next year, the automaker’s vehicles would be able to drive themselves without human supervision. It seems unlikely, given the current unfinished state of the Full Self-Driving suite, but it cannot be excluded as a possibility, especially given the impressive progress shown by the most recent FSD Beta version.
Tesla needs to have its driverless tech ready soon, since the manufacturer is also reportedly developing a driverless taxi that will not even have physical controls for manual driving any more - VW is also working on a very similar vehicle, although we know it will be based on the ID Buzz.
This dedicated model from Tesla, that is not believed to be based on an existing production model, will debut and enter production in 2024, so FSD needs to provide reliable autonomous rides by then in order to make it a reality. There are already companies that are further along with their robotaxi projects, like Cruise and Waymo, whose driverless test vehicles are already ferrying passengers sans driver legally in certain areas of a couple of US cities.