Business

Self-driving electric cars? Elon Musk and Tesla want to make it happen

tesla-model-s

What do you get when you combine the electric car with self-driving technology? Elon Musk’s vision for the future of Tesla.

The Tesla CEO is in talks with Google to get self-driving technology into Tesla’s future cars, according to Bloomberg.

Musk, who says he prefers the term “autopilot” over “self-driving”, argues the move is a natural step in the evolution of the automobile. Still, the Tesla CEO is also quick to note that self-driving technology isn’t a priority for his company — at least not currently.

“We’re not focused on autopilot right now; we will be in the future. Autopilot is not as important as accelerating the transition to electric cars, or to sustainable transport,” he told Bloomberg.

brin-model-s

Above: Yeah — this happened.

One problem with the idea, at least as far as Tesla goes, is cost: Cars like the Model S already run for at least $69,000, and slapping on self-driving tech would only make things more expensive. Musk, however, is optimistic, and it’s tough to fault him for his vision — however unrealistic and zany it often feels.

Musk says that Google’s self-driving sensor system is too expensive. One alternative, he says is the camera-based system Toyota showed off earlier this year.

The other big problem is, of course, safety, which is a concern for any company looking to invest in self-driving cars. The technology is still unproven, and if car makers are correct, it’s going to be at least a decade until it’s ready for widespread adoption.

Google isn’t commenting on Musk’s remarks, but considering that Google’s Sergey Brin himself is a (hot pink) Model S owner, it’s fair to assume Google is very much interested in helping Musk along. Both Brin and fellow Google founder Larry Page are also Tesla investors.


We're studying conversion rate optimization. Take our quick survey and we'll share the results with you.