Elon Musk: Autonomous Cars Will Be Here “A Hell of A Lot Faster” Than People Think

August 8, 2016 | Kelly Tatera

tesla car
Photo credit: Tesla Motors

Even Musk is mind-blown by Tesla’s progress.

Tesla has taken some heat in the recent weeks following the news of the company’s first fatal car accident, but Elon Musk is confident that its autonomous driving technology won’t disappoint.

According to Inverse, Musk told investments analysts about Tesla’s progress with self-driving cars, stressing that they’ll be here sooner than expected and they’ll be nothing short of mind-blowing.

“Autonomy is going to come a hell of a lot faster than anyone thinks it will, and I think what we’ve got under development is going to blow people’s minds,” he said. “It blows my mind.”

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He explained that the hardware exists to create fully autonomous cars, but the challenge is developing the proper software for advanced and narrow artificial intelligence (narrow AI is only focused on one task).

“Narrow A.I. is not going to take over the world, but it needs to be really good at driving a car,” Musk told the analysts. “So increasingly sophisticated neural nets that can operate in reasonably sized computers in the car, that’s our focus. I’m very optimistic about this.”

Just a few weeks ago, Tesla announced its 4-item “master plan,” and a large portion of the plan revolved around autonomous cars.

After the company achieves fully autonomous cars, it plans to roll out a “shared fleet” of self-driving cars. Basically, Tesla owners will be able to add their car to Tesla’s shared fleet by tapping a button on the smartphone app. Then, the car will be able to shuttle other people around while the car owner is at work or on vacation, bringing in some extra income. Think of it as a glorified taxi service sans human drivers.

Elon Musk declined to comment on any specific product announcements, but Tesla’s self-driving vehicles will likely roll out in different places at different times since government regulation of the cars will take some time.

Nonetheless, “It blows me away, the progress we’re making,” Musk said, “so if I’m this close to it and it’s blowing me away, it’s really going to blow other people away when they see it for the first time.”

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