Tesla’s Musk sees fully autonomous car ready in 5 years

Tesla’s Musk sees fully autonomous car ready in 5 years

Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said the technology to make a fully autonomous car will be ready in five or six years, and the result will be a vehicle far less likely to harm occupants and others on the road.

“They will be a factor of 10 safer than a person [at the wheel] in a six-year time frame,” Musk said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Once the technology is available, it likely would take several more years, however, to work out the regulatory impediments, he said.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla is working on its own autonomous driving technology for its electric vehicles in addition to talking with auto suppliers. He said he expects more suppliers of autonomous vehicle parts to emerge in coming years.

Musk said “machine vision,” or the ability for a computer to quickly recognize objects, is the biggest technological impediment to fully implementing the technology.

Determining what an entire object might be when only a piece of it is visible by camera or radar is a key issue for the technology to determine the correct course of action for the vehicle. “It’s kind of scary: what’s going to become of us humans,” he joked.

Hmm. I don't want a machine responsible for transporting my family. I am against these self driving cars.

socalsam | 17 septembre 2014

I really think that sometimes Elon should practice the art of under promise and over deliver. The delays with the Model X. The delays with 6.0. I mean how much was that hyped up and when it finally came out -its a big turd. Nothing special about it.

Quit wasting time on autonomous driving- get the model x out asap without further delays.

logicalthinker | 17 septembre 2014

I think 6.0 was intended to be much more but they had to cut out a lot.
Did you see the thread over at TMC re: active safety features?

johncrab | 17 septembre 2014

Elon is a futurist and I admire him for this. There are enough of us concentrating on the immediate now. A car that was aware in a hemispheric bubble would have many advantages. It could know where cars are, how fast they are going, where pedestrians are and then could use sensors to "see" in realtime, providing two stages of data. Collecting the first stage requires infrastructure which isn't here yet. Someone has to hang the dot out in space and say "That's where we need to go".

Red Sage ca us | 17 septembre 2014

johncrab wrote, "Someone has to hang the dot out in space and say 'That's where we need to go'."

And that's why we credit Elon Musk with having vision, and thus, being a visionary. This is something I understand, as an artist. Before I draw something, no matter the medium, I sit with a blank canvas first. I know what I want to put there, but I must formulate the means by which it will be made to come about. I literally envision the end result, and work backward to the blank sheet of paper, then begin working. It's a process that confuses people who don't work that way.

I was sitting at my desk staring at a blank screen a couple of decades ago at an architectural firm. One of the partners walked by, on his way to get some coffee. He asked what I was doing. I said, "Working." When I was ready, I started using the CAD system to lay out the plans. Naturally, everything was done on time, crisp, clean, ready to go, without delays.

It is rather hard to communicate why such a process can sometimes take a long time. But it is certainly better than going in the wrong direction, and realizing you have to start over again. Once you are done though, the time has passed by so quickly that it is almost like magic. You know you did it, you were there all along, but it almost seemed as if the work did itself. As if it wanted to be created.

It will be ready when it's done.

AmpedRealtor | 17 septembre 2014

I don't want Mr. Musk to change a single thing about himself. Not one.

Red Sage ca us | 17 septembre 2014

It is pretty cool when someone tries to set a trap for Elon by asking a question they don't expect an answer to... and he answers it.

I like that.

A lot.

jordanrichard | 17 septembre 2014

I don't see self driving cars working out, in the wild. There are way, way too many variables. When I am driving, I often pay attention to where the drivers of the other cars are looking. I do this to anticipate a sudden lane change or a similar action that may affect me. A car with 3 hundred radar scopes isn't going to be able to do this. Will an automatous car slam on the brakes when there is a squirrel in the road, when most of us would keep on driving, knowing 9 times out of tem, the squirrel turns around to go back into the woods.

How would these cars react to a an object in the road like the squirrel that doesn't make it....

nick-r | 17 septembre 2014


Kpg81 | 17 septembre 2014

This is a concept image of the Tesla self driving car and the AI powered robot that navigates you

Red Sage ca us | 17 septembre 2014

jordanrichard: 99 out of 100... There was this one squirrel that committed suicide under a van I was driving...

Red Sage ca us | 17 septembre 2014

kpg1981: Well, actually...

Sure, it's Google, but those seats look awfully familiar...

Bubba2000 | 17 septembre 2014

Tesla should focus in installing simple safety features that are available is plain mid end autos:
- Adaptive cruise control that can work in stop and go traffic in all weather, day or night.
- Anti collision warning and braking, especially with all gizmo distractions in the car, people texting, etc.
- Lane tracking, lane change warning like in Mercedes Benz
- Loud honk and flash brake lights if about to get rear ended

All this tech is being used by MB, Volvo, GM, etc. Supplied by 3rd parties. I can see 2012-13 not having this tech. But no excuse not to have this tech in 2014 cars. Tesla need to quit talking about pie in the sky autonomous driving and do the basics!

Red Sage ca us | 17 septembre 2014

Bubba2000: The problem is that those 'simple safety features' don't work very well. Tesla Motors will do... better.

Brian H | 17 septembre 2014

More supplies for the Road Kill Kafé. Anyone who brakes for squirrels is a menace.

dborn | 17 septembre 2014

It would be better still if his vision could focus on getting a launch in Australia. It has been promised for late July, Mid August, and now, "not before October".
C'mon Tesla, let this get done, get us our already built cars (completed since mid August), hopefully with prewiring for the new upcoming technology. and then maybe start looking at self driving cars.
For those folks waiting maybe the X and the 3 might jut have a teensy weensy bit more priority than a self driving car!!!

jordanrichard | 18 septembre 2014

Bubba2000, many of these "safety" features are really complacency features. If you can't stay in your lane, pull over and take a taxi. Didn't see that car in the next lane via the 3 mirrors on the car, pull over and take a taxi.

Here is one thing I don't think people have given any thought to. These "safety features" may help you with your distracted/non attentive driving but at the end of the day, you are still responsible for whatever happens. You can cry all you want that the bell/whistle etc didn't alert you to the car in the next lane, but the judge is going to say, ".....that's nice. Court adjourned, don't forget to pay on your way out"

michael1800 | 18 septembre 2014

EM's timeline is more than just a touch aggressive, but, like it or not, that's where we're going to be. I personally look forward to the faster transit times and extra sleep on the way to work.

socalsam | 18 septembre 2014

All this talk about driverless cars - Just get me the Model X already.

Kpg81 | 18 septembre 2014

Seriously man... I bet Model 3 is still some drawing on a boardroom wall at Tesla HQ. How many people bet it won't even release until 2018-2019? Elon is a visionary, but his visions are so far in the future you have to get his timeframe and way of thinking- this is a guy talking about wanting to land people on Mars. What you and I describe as "soon" is in a few years, soon to him in 20-30 years or more.

Red Sage ca us | 18 septembre 2014

kpg1981 queried, "How many people bet it won't even release until 2018-2019?"

Let's see... YOU, Mr. Jim Cramer, and a [SUGAR]load of $h0r+s on Wall Street... So, that makes... Pretty much 'everybody'. And well, 'everyone' knows that 'everybody' is ALWAYS right, after all...


Kpg81 | 18 septembre 2014

Red, think about it really- for the Model 3 to release you need a fully built and operational Gigafactory and everything else that comes with it. If the Model 3 is released to the public before 2018, Id be shocked.

Red Sage ca us | 18 septembre 2014

kpg1981: All of this is being discussed in detail in the General forum here. I have already taken on Naysayers in other threads at great length. It really isn't very hard to build cars -- even electric ones. To put it shortly: you will be shocked.

Bighorn | 18 septembre 2014

Tesla can make ~300,000 batteries a year without gigafactory support, IIRC

Kpg81 | 18 septembre 2014

Red, look how long it took to put out v6.0 firmware. The Model X was introduced with a fully operating prototype in 2011, almost 4 years ago- and it won't be delivered to customers until 2015. How the Model 3 is going to pop up out of thin air and be delivered in 1/2 the time of the Model X is mind blowing to me. Tesla has a history of delays, rightfully so as they want a perfect product, but assuming the Model 3 will be mass produced in 2 years at this early stage of the game is so optimistic I can't wrap my head around it. But keep speculating, it's fun right..

Captain_Zap | 18 septembre 2014


It was 150k confidently but maybe it might be able to stretch to 200k as per Elon in the last quarterly conference call.

Red Sage ca us | 19 septembre 2014

kpg1981: Here's the fun thing... History is... history. History is not defined by TRENDS. Trends come and go, ebb and flow. History is only a record of what has happened in the past. History is not a roadmap of what will occur in the future. If you were not a verifiable Bear/$h0r+ you would understand that concept. By the way, your pessimism is also speculation.

Tesla Motors has not been sitting on their hands since 2012. If they were, then there would not have been a 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, or 5.0 upgrade to firmware, let alone a 6.0 as released recently. And if you knew anything at all about software you might realize that the multitude of iterative changes in TeslaOS firmware since January of this year were of features and fixes that were likely originally expected to appear as part of 6.0 anyway. Tesla perhaps could have just held off on doing any changes at all until now. They chose to handle it otherwise, to the benefit of their Customers, and to your dismay.

I presume that by 'in two years' you mean from the launch of Model X? I'll say again, you may prepare yourself to be 'surprised'. That is the eternal state of shock, awe, and wonderment that befalls $h0r+s in TeslaLand. Get used to it, or get over it, but be sure to get out of the way.

That said... Tesla Motors is constantly learning. They learn from the mistakes of the traditional automobile industry. They learn from the pratfalls of others who attempted to blaze a trail toward new technology and were curtailed by trumped up legal hurdles. They learn from interactions with political figures from local, municipal, county, state, and national persuasions. They learn from the biases and fears of suppliers who are tentative about making a hefty commitment of time and resources to a 'newcomer'. They learn to listen to their detractors and constantly assess the level of concern and viability that should be assigned to their perceived woes.

And all that learning allows them to plan for the future, to progress toward a goal, to make their way forward despite all the obstacles in their way, to overcome doubt, fear, and uncertainty, to stand alone on Mt Olympus overlooking the corpses of the defeated that lay all around them, and the dying who lie crying for mercy.

So there.


Kpg81 | 19 septembre 2014

So Red Sage, you are assuming your guesses and speculation will be correct? Well then we both have something in common. Although my assumptions are realistic.

Kpg81 | 19 septembre 2014

PS, stock is down today on a strong market open- and will likely resume its correction I spoke of as it could not hold over the $263 technical resistance area.


SamO | 19 septembre 2014

Driverless cars are coming.

Don't like it, don't buy or use one.

California has mandatory rulemaking that requires CHP to allow driverless (autonomous cars) no later than January 1, 2015.

I've posted this before, but driving is the most dangerous activity most humans undertake in their lives. #1 killer of people 1-35 years old and the #1 causes of disability in ALL AGE GROUPS.

If driving were an activity one did at the amusement park, Disneyland would have been shuttered years ago.

Kpg81 | 19 septembre 2014

SamO, I get your argument and do understand the stats. But driving happens to be an activity that we all do in our lives, besides eat and sleep. Of course it is going to have a high statistical death and injury rate.

I just don't see how computers driving us around are able to use common sense in certain scenarios. I will be the last person on the road driving a car manually, and if all cars are computers than they can avoid ME and any mistakes I make then right? I will never let a machine drive me around.

Bighorn | 19 septembre 2014

Confirmed the 200,000 figure--what's 100,000 cars amongst friends?

balabanshik | 19 septembre 2014

I think I know the reason for the Model X delays now. Tesla just wants to get rid of the whole Delivery Specialist wing, and have the cars auto-deliver themselves...

PBEndo | 19 septembre 2014

If EV's could merely drive themselves to and from charging stations, that would solve a lot of problems. No more worries about moving your car when charging is complete, it moves itself.

PBEndo | 19 septembre 2014

I agree that the movement toward autonomous vehicles is unstoppable, and in the long run will benefit us all. The transition is what worries me. The current state of "driving aids" just seem to allow drivers to lower their situational awareness. This latest Infiniti commercial scares the crap out of me.

It ends with the line - "...leaves you free to drive."
It should say, "it leaves you free to be distracted."

Pungoteague_Dave | 19 septembre 2014

@RS "multitude of iterative changes in TeslaOS firmware since January of this year were of features and fixes that were likely originally expected to appear as part of 6.0 anyway. Tesla perhaps could have just held off on doing any changes at all until now. "

Hate to say it Reds, but there has been exactly one upgraded feature set released between January and 6.0, and many of us still don't have 6.0. What's your definition of multitude?

PBEndo | 19 septembre 2014

Fully Autonomous Cars!?!?! I'd be happy with autonomous orange cones guarding the parking spots at the charging locations...and I don't think that will be happening anytime soon.
Until that magical day arrives, Code Orange is our only hope!

Brian H | 19 septembre 2014

Elon advertised for autonomous driving engineers to report directly to him last year. And NASA is running an X-Prize type competition for sample return 'bots: Prize a token $1.5 million for Level 2.

"Soon" 'bots will have 'positronic brains'. Isaac was cautionary about some of the interim developments from that, IIRC.

Red Sage ca us | 19 septembre 2014

Pungoteague_Dave: I'm sure those various numbers and decimal points are there for some reason. Including the 5.9, 5.10, 5.11, 5.12 and the variations between each, I'm sure that constitutes at least a few more than 'exactly one' thing that has changed since January. In other news... 'Crack: It does a body good!'

riceuguy | 19 septembre 2014

@Kpg, whether you approve or not, Google's autonomous vehicles have driven 1,000,000+ miles without a single incident hat occurred when the car was driving autonomously. How many of us have that kind of driving record?

Grinnin'.VA | 20 septembre 2014

@ kpg1981 | September 18, 2014

"... for the Model 3 to release you need a fully built and operational Gigafactory and everything else that comes with it."

Not quite. All they need is about 10% of the capacity of the GF functioning to get started delivering the MX to customers. They could add capacity a bit at a time, reaching full capacity 3 years after the first MX is delivered to a customer.

Go Tesla!
Ron :)

SamO | 20 septembre 2014


+1000 to "driver's aids" being useless. These aren't products, but horrible "hybrid" solutions to distraction.

The best driver is one that doesn't have to have his/her eyes on the road. Cameras, GPS, LIDAR, map images and machine learning will take what should be a very mundane task and thrust it into the far background.

I look forward to the mobility it will provide to aging boomers.

I look forward to the democratization of transportation, instead of only horrible (buses) or expensive (private vehicle ownerships) options.

I'm also glad that Tesla is not putting these half-baked products into any of their cars.

I'll wait for what Elon is calling "Autopilot".


Humans are notoriously poor predictors of probability.

Red Sage ca us | 20 septembre 2014

SamO put all to shame with, "I'm also glad that Tesla is not putting these half-baked products into any of their cars. ... I'll wait for what Elon is calling 'Autopilot'."

Precisely on target. Thank you for condensing the whole thread into these two sentences. Superlative effort.