Tesla joins race to build self-driving cars within three years

In a bid to overpower Google in the auto-piloted electric car race, Tesla Motors has begun designing and building cars that don't require any human drivers to get behind the wheel. Tesla founder Elon Musk (and Hyperloop visionary) hopes to create cars that will be able to handle 90 percent of car controls within three years of development. Other car companies, including Volvo, Mercedes-Benz and Continental have experimented with autonomous drive technology, but currently don't have anything consumer-ready vehicles yet.

Nissan recently claimed it would release a 100 percent autonomous car by 2020, but Elon Musk said in an interview with the Financial Times that it would probably not be possible anytime soon. Apparently, it is "incredibly hard" to hit the last few percent points for full autopilot-capable vehicles. Sorry Batmobile fans.

Musk Tesla Motors in 2003 and has finally seen his efforts pay off in the form of profits from the company's Model S sedan this year, the first commercially successful electric car of its kind. Jumping on the heels of the Model S's success, Musk has decided to undertake the project of a car that would allow the driver to turn on a form of autopilot in certain situations, like if you're too drunk to drive (very useful) or you decide, against all common sense, to text while driving — in which case, you don't really deserve a Tesla.

Google was the first to spearhead the idea for a completely robot-controlled car, but hasn't had any luck finding partners to build its cars. Maybe Musk and Brin should schedule a Google Hangout sometime soon so we can finally get a car that will drive itself? For now, Musk seems adverse to that idea, as the technology for the autopilot vehicles will be internally developed within his company rather than provided from an outside source.

Via Financial Times

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