Coming off of Space X’s vertical rocket landing Musk admitted that he may have been a little hopeful when he made these comments.
While Google is currently the front-runner in self-driving cars, Musk hopes that Tesla will take the lead in this small niche market although it has promise to take over the car market when once the technology is widely available.
The US Department of Transportation’s National HIghway Traffic Safety Administration is ready for the self-driving cars, already delineating five levels of vehicle automation. Musk is aiming for level 4 in which the car has control of all functions, with or without the driver in the car.
“Ultimately you’ll be able to summon your car anywhere… your car can get to you,” Musk said, according to The Verge.
The ability to call your vehicle to your location, Tesla refers to this feature as “Summon”. Currently the feature can be used to allow the car to park itself with or without a passenger, but Musk thinks a software update will allow the car to drive itself to your location, essentially picking you up.
Having a car drive itself from New York to La still has one major issue that needs to be addressed. How will it refuel without a passenger?
Musk has a solution and points back to the unveiling of those strange metallic snakes. These chrome tubes will automatically find the car’s charging point and plug themselves in and be charged in minutes.
“You need a lot of redundancy… more cameras, more radars, redundant power buses… so that any system can fail in the car and it doesn’t need to backup to a driver.” So although the Teslas themselves may not be completely autonomous by 2018, he is confident that the appropriate technological advancements will be in place by that point.