“Level 5” in the autonomous car industry refers to vehicles that can drive themselves in any on-road condition without any intervention from a human. It’s the holy grail of autonomous vehicle tech, but no true level 5 vehicles exist … yet.
Elon Musk announced in July that Tesla Inc. was very close to achieving level 5 autonomous driving and — after solving “many small problems” — would have the basic functionality for level 5 complete some time in 2020. Industry experts were skeptical. And rightly so. When Telsa unveiled the “full self-driving feature” in October, critics from Ford to Uber criticized it, saying it still depended on an actual human driver.
So, what are the challenges holding back level 5 autonomous driving?