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Elon Musk Predicts Human Drivers Will Be Outlawed in the Future

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/18/2015 Karla Sanchez

Tesla boss Elon Musk caused quite a stir yesterday when he said that self-driving cars will eventually make the action of driving a car illegal.

“In the distant future, I think people may outlaw driving cars because it’s too dangerous,” Musk said at a conference held by graphics chipmaker Nvidia Corp. “You can’t have a person driving a two-ton death machine.”

Elon Musk© Provided by MotorTrend Elon Musk

One can only imagine the chain reaction Musk’s comments caused, so he took to Twitter later on in the day to clear things up. “To be clear, Tesla is strongly in favor of people being allowed to drive their cars and always will be,” he wrote. “Hopefully, that is obvious.”

While Tesla has been committed to making its EVs fun to drive (the Model S is one of the quickest cars MT has tested), the company has also been vocal about its interest in autonomous cars. After introducing the new Model S P85D last October, the automaker talked about its new Autopilot system in the Model S. The new system finally gives the Model S the advanced, semi-autonomous technologies that have long been featured in its competitors. This means the Model S now has a forward collision system, and an adaptive cruise control system that not only keeps pace with the car in front, but also controls the steering wheel while also detecting and reading speed limit signs, too. Autopilot consists of ultra-sonic sensors (six in each front and rear bumper), a camera mounted above the rearview mirror, and a radar mounted within the front bumper. Autopilot is just the beginning, though.

2014 Tesla Model S© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Tesla Model S

Tesla and Nvidia already work very closely, with Nvidia supplying the automaker with high-powered processors. One of Nvidia’s chips is used to power the Model S’ instrument cluster, while another is used for its massive 17-inch touch screen. They may work even closer in the near future, as Nvidia announced it plans to introduce a purpose-built automotive computer dubbed Drive PX for autonomous driving. Scheduled to go on sale in May, the computer has 12 inputs for high-res cameras. 

2014 Tesla Model S© Provided by MotorTrend 2014 Tesla Model S

Either way, Musk said Tesla’s on the lookout for engineers to help improve autonomous driving. “I almost view it as a solved problem,” he said. “We know exactly what to do, and we’ll solve it in a few years.”

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)

Tesla Ceo Elon Musk Headshot© Provided by MotorTrend Tesla Ceo Elon Musk Headshot

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