Elon Musk believes fully autonomous cars will be ready in 5-6 years

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About a year ago, Tesla announced its plans to develop self-driving car technologies, and now founder and CEO Elon Musk says there’s still quite a bit of work to be done before that’s a reality. Another 5 to 6 years, to be precise. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Musk says that the various technologies needed to make that happen still needs years of work to perfect, and that it could take a few more after that for laws and regulations to catch up.

Tesla Motors Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said the technology to make a fully autonomous car will be ready in five or six years, and the result will be vehicles far less likely to harm occupants and others on the road. “They will be a factor of 10 safer than a person [at the wheel] in a six-year time frame,” Mr. Musk said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Once the technology is available, it likely would take several more years, however, to work out the regulatory impediments, he said. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla is working on its own autonomous driving technology for its electric vehicles in addition to talking with auto suppliers. He said he expects more suppliers of autonomous vehicle parts to emerge in coming years. “Tesla is going to do quite a bit of development itself,” he said. He didn’t mention any development partners by name. Mr. Musk said “machine vision,” or the ability for a computer to quickly recognize objects, is the biggest technological impediment to fully implementing the technology.

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