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.

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May 8, 2013 12:08 PM CDT
I would love to have this, I had 1 hour+ commutes for much of my career and I hated it, 1/8 of my waking hours spent listening to the radio and stressing over what the idiot in front of me did. Now that I'm on disability and can only drive short distances, it is even more frustrating. What a waste of your life.
May 8, 2013 9:21 AM CDT
Mind you there's a large percentage of people who simple can't drive and need an autopilot in their car. I'm not one of these people. And could see this made mandatory across the board, which is scary.
May 8, 2013 6:19 AM CDT
What makes Google think that a gadget invented by man will be more reliable than man himself? And as for autopilots on planes, why are they a "good thing"? They are part of an ever-growing arsenal of technology which allows pilots to sit back and be passengers, and I for one want a pilot in the left seat -- not a guy who only wakes up when the proximity alarm goes off, and then has to read a manual to decide what to do.