Low-key mad scientist and Paypal billionaire Elon Musk told CNN Money that “a Tesla car next year will probably be 90 percent capable of autopilot.” On the highway, Musk is “for sure” confident the car will be able to drive itself.

It’s important to note that even if Tesla succeeds on automation, it doesn’t mean that it will necessarily be available or legal. Fully automated cars in California currently need some type of permit; Audi got one of the first such permits to test drive its own robotically driven cars on public roads.

The next realistic step in mass automation is self-parking automobiles (which will be a dream for those who see parallel parking as a forced game of bumper cars). But governments are still trying to figure out who is responsible if the car hits another vehicle — or worse, another person. So it could be at least a few years before automated cars are commercially available.

I thought the most interesting statement from the clip was Musk’s transparent bravado: “Tesla’s a Silicon Valley company. If we’re not the leader, shame on us.”

I’ve always gotten the sense that tech giants feel Silicon Valley should be number one in everything — but I never had the proof. Musk’s statement is as clear as can be. No wonder tech billionaires want to build their own cities.

We’ll have more details about the talk as they become available.

Via The Verge

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