Elon Musk, CEO of electric car company Tesla, has predicted that people may be banned from driving once autonomous cars are widely used. The Tesla boss has stated that a switch from cars that we drive ourselves to machines that can drive for us may take around 20 years, adding that once these are widely used it will not be accepted for fallible humans to take control.
“It’s too dangerous. You can’t have a person driving a two-tonne death machine,” said Mr Musk at an appearance at an annual conference for developers at computing company Nvidia, reports The Guardian.
Outlining his ambitions for Tesla’s own autonomous machines, he suggested that the sheer number of vehicles needed to replace all the cars already on the roads could take the best part of two decadesto make, telling The Verge: “I think it is important to appreciate the size of the automotive industrial base. There’s two billion of them.”
It’s too dangerous. You can’t have a person driving a two-tonne death machine.
Tesla has already mapped out a number of ‘autopilot’ functions for its cars, which could let its vehicles change lanes and park for themselves, seeing this functionality as a way to “save a lot of lives”. Mr Musk has gone as far as to state that there is already ‘overwhelming’ evidence to suggest that self-driving machines would be much safer than humans on the road, though he acknowledged that convincing governments and authorities of this could be a challenge.
The area giving Tesla most headaches currently, CEO Musk revealed, is how to deal with mid-speed urban streets, where vehicles travel at between 15mph and 50mph. Another concern is how to safeguard autonomous machines from hacking. However, this is something that Tesla has been busy working on: “We’ve put a lot of effort into that, and we’ve had third parties try to hack it.”