Elon Musk says Tesla ‘very close to self-driving cars

Tesla sells out of limited edition short shorts

Tesla CEO Elon Musk released limited edition red satin short shorts which sold out after being on the market for $69 each.

Tesla is “very close” to bringing its self-driving car tech to the next level, chief executive Elon Musk said Thursday.

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In remarks made via video message at the opening of Shanghai’s annual World Artificial Intelligence Conference, Musk said that he is “confident” that Tesla will achieve “the basic functionality for level 5 autonomy” this year, meaning that vehicles will be able to navigate roads without any driver input.

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The distinction would continue to put Tesla at the forefront of the autonomous driving industry, a space where it is competing with Uber and Alphabet-owned Waymo, who are both investing billions of dollars in self-driving efforts.

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Tesla currently builds cars with an Autopilot driver-assistance system, which helps Tesla drivers steer, accelerate and brake automatically in their lane, but asks them to keep their hands on the steering wheel at all times.

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The Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla has been criticized for the name of its Autopilot tech, with Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) calling it “an inherently misleading name” because the cars cannot actually fully drive themselves.

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Tesla Autopilot has been involved in five fatal crashes since 2016, including a grisly accident in Mountain View, Calif., just 15 minutes away from the company’s headquarters, which left the driver dead after his Model X hit a highway divider.

Musk also said Thursday that Tesla is also developing new heat-projection or cooling systems to enable more advanced computers in its cars.

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Shares of Tesla were up 2.4 percent Thursday morning, trading at $1,398.99. It is now the most valuable automaker on earth with a market cap of $259 billion.

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