Tesla Discussing 'Autopilot' for Cars With Google

Elon Musk aims for affordable version for his electric cars
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2013 12:00 PM CDT
This 2011 file photo shows a Tesla Roadster Sport at a charging station in Portland, Ore.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(Newser) – Electric carmaker Tesla is talking with Google about developing an "autopilot" system for its cars, reports Bloomberg. Google, of course, has been testing "self-driving" cars for a few years, though Tesla chief Elon Musk dislikes the term. "Self-driving sounds like it’s going to do something you don’t want it to do," he says. "Autopilot is a good thing to have in planes, and we should have it in cars.” Much work lies ahead, though. Musk thinks Google's current approach of using a roof-mounted laser system is too expensive, and he envisions a cheaper system that combines cameras and software.

At the same time, Tesla is working on bringing down the price of its expensive cars, and it hopes to more than halve the cost of its model S sedan to $30,000 in the coming years. Estimates on when autonomous cars will be ready for the road range from five years (Google) to 10 years (Nissan) to a "long way off" (US government). Google has another driving-related issue on its hands, notes the New York Times: Lawmakers around the country are worried that drivers using Google Glass will be a menace to the road. (Read more Tesla stories.)

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