Tesla chief says self-driving cars just around corner

September 9, 2014
Tesla S
Tesla S

US electric car maker Tesla is developing technology that could see vehicles run on "full auto pilot" in as little as five or six years, according to its chief executive Elon Musk.

The colourful entrepreneur said his firm was stepping on the accelerator in the race against rivals such as Google and Volvo to create a , which could revolutionise the road by drastically cutting .

"The overall system and software will be programmed by Tesla, but we will certainly use sensors and subcomponents from many companies," Musk told reporters in Tokyo Monday.

"I think in the long term, all Tesla cars will have auto-pilot capability," added Tesla's 43-year-old head.

There are no on the market yet, but several automakers have been working on autonomous or semi-autonomous features, such as self parking, which are seen as a major advance for the auto sector.

Musk's comments suggest that the arrival of self-driving cars could be closer than previously thought—a January report by the research firm IHS said they could start hitting highways by 2025 and number as many as 35 million globally by 2035.

On Monday, Musk also said electric car maker Tesla hopes to sign a new battery supply with Toyota in the next few years, as an existing programme comes to an end.

Musk was in Tokyo to announce the release of Tesla's Internet-connected Model S sedan in Japan.

The luxury electric car costs 8.23 million yen ($77,000) and comes equipped with batteries made by Panasonic.

The collaboration between Tesla and the Japanese giant on the Model S precedes the planned joint construction of the world's largest lithium-ion battery plant in the US state of Nevada.

Tesla will run operations at the $5.0 billion "gigafactory" while Panasonic will make battery cells destined for the plant and invest in equipment and machinery.

The factory will employ 6,500 workers directly and another 16,000 indirectly, Tesla said.

The electric car market in Japan, as in other countries, has been growing slowly, hindered by high prices and a lack of locations for drivers to charge vehicle batteries.

Explore further: Tesla unveils 'Gigafactory' to ramp up mass-market car

Related Stories

California back in running for Tesla battery plant

May 8, 2014

California is back in the running for a massive battery plant that electric car maker Tesla Motors plans to start building this year, but CEO Elon Musk said the state remains in the "improbable" category for winning the plant ...

The race is on to power the next generation of electric cars

July 16, 2014

A major shift from gasoline-powered to affordable electric vehicles feels tantalizingly close, but the battery technology that could make it happen still needs to catch up to its own hype. Although luxury-car maker Tesla ...

Panasonic, Tesla to build big US battery plant

July 31, 2014

(AP)—American electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. is teaming up with Japanese electronics company Panasonic Corp. to build a battery manufacturing plant in the U.S. expected to create 6,500 jobs.

Tesla says decision on battery factory months away

August 1, 2014

(AP)—Electric car maker Tesla Motors said Thursday that it is preparing a site near Reno, Nevada, as a possible location for its new battery factory, but is still evaluating other sites.

Recommended for you

Auto, aerospace industries warm to 3D printing

August 25, 2016

New 3D printing technology unveiled this week sharply increases the size of objects that can be produced, offering new possibilities to remake manufacturing in the auto, aerospace and other major industries.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.