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The future of cars is autopilot, not self-driving, according to Elon Musk

Autore: ExtremeTech

Much ado has been made recently about Google’s focus on developing consumer-friendly self-driving cars in the next five years. Now, Elon Musk has confirmed that he is interested in the potential of bringing this same kind of technology to the electric cars made by Tesla Motors. The race is on to see who can bring self-driving cars to market first.

In a report today from Bloomberg, Musk says that he has been discussing the self-driving car technology with Google, but he has different opinions about implementation. Google’s system relies on expensive LIDAR sensors to help make steering and braking decisions, but Musk contends that using optical cameras is the best way forward. Either way, it all comes down to developing extremely reliable software to parse the data quickly, and keep the passengers safe. If Musk and his team can deliver the goods cheaper and faster than Google, Tesla could ride this technology into mainstream acceptance.

It’s not just the sensors that Musk doesn’t like; he doesn’t much care for the phrase “self-driving car” either. Instead, he seems to prefer “autopilot.” While it might seem like trivial semantics, it does make it clear that this technology is intended as a tool for drivers — not a replacement for drivers. For safety and liability purposes, a human will still need to be paying attention when these cars hit the market. Don’t expect to be able to play Draw Something on your phone, or take a nap on the way to work.

Governments all over the globe are now tasked with figuring out how this technology works logistically and legally, and even big car companies like Audi and Toyota are getting in on the land rush. As it stands now, Google’s self-driving tests can only be carried out in three US states, and there are still mountains of red tape that needs to be dealt with before we see self-driving cars available for the masses. As enthusiastic as people like Elon Musk and Google’s Sebastian Thrun are, this tech is still years, maybe even decades, away from taking off.

To be clear, Tesla hasn’t announced anything official quite yet. After the Bloomberg interview, Musk took to Twitter to explain himself: “Am a fan of Larry, Sergey & Google in general, but self-driving cars comments to Bloomberg were just off-the-cuff. No big announcement here.” Even so, it’s clear that a company as progressive as Tesla will want to be on the cutting edge with self-driving cars. Since Google is targeting five years, it wouldn’t be a bit surprising if Tesla is internally targeting four. That kind of chutzpah is exactly what we’ve all come to expect from Elon Musk in all of his endeavors.

Now read: Google: Self-driving cars in 3-5 years. Feds: Not so fast

[Image credit: NRMA Motoring and Services]

One thought on “The future of cars is autopilot, not self-driving, according to Elon Musk

  1. …da questa colonia?

    Arriverà prima l’armaghedon dei T. di geova o la prima colonia di 80 mila persone su Marte sarà la prima civiltà senza un T. di geova?

    Entro una decina di anni circa fonderanno una nuova colonia su Marte, e come farà Geova a punire i marziani se nessun T. di geova avrà predicato a loro?
    Esploratore ennesima risposta offtopic e inutile alla domanda, da oggi sarai escluso da tutte le mie domande future e passate, leggi il mio profilo e fattene una ragione.

    Riguardo a quanto dici sulle domande inventate, non fai altro che fare le tue solite figuracce.
    http://urly.it/228j Wired
    http://urly.it/228k Forbes
    Esploratore da te ero già bloccato su altri account, quindi ritienilo un privilegio aver avuto la possibilità di dar risposte a svariate mie domande. I privilegi possono esser tolti senza alcun preavviso. Addio e senza rancore :)

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