American multi-national electric vehicle (EV) automaker Tesla are reportedly “closer than ever” to delivering self-driving vehicles with zero human supervision, according to billionaire CEO Elon Musk. The Twitter-owner made the bold statement in a video link at World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai, claiming that the prediction will be achieved “later this year”.

The CEO, of the estimated $600 billion company, said:

“In terms of where Tesla is at this stage, I think we are very close to achieving full self-driving without human supervision.”

However, it is unclear whether Musk’s vision will fully manifest on time. The CEO maintains a history of failing to achieve promised deadlines on the topic and has rumoured the company’s closeness to fully driverless cars on several occasions.

A number of pending technical advancements are still required to realise fully driverless cars and experts are divided as to when they believe this might actually happen. The release and deployment of the vehicles will also come with its own set of challenges as the technology being used raises many legal and regulatory issues that have yet to be addressed. The fact that the driverless vehicles will have no need for human supervision will require extensive testing and performance analysis in order to ensure complete safety for passengers.

Musk also gave much praise to China’s major contributions to artificial intelligence (AI) and proved his efforts to maintain a close link with the country. China holds the world’s largest car market and boasts the second largest economy on the planet. The global superpower is also Tesla’s second largest market, after North America, and Musk is reportedly hopeful that they will host the lead position for the market of Tesla’s pending driverless vehicles.

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