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3/17/15

Automobile Industry: Tesla's Elon Musk Predicts Human Drivers Will Be Outlawed - by Robert Sorokanich

At a tech industry conference today, Tesla CEO and furious rumor-tweeter Elon Musk dropped a bombshell opinion on the future of human driving. “It’s too dangerous,” he said, adding that once autonomous driving becomes commonplace, he thinks the obvious move is to outlaw human driving.

The bold claim came at the NVIDIA GPU conference, an industry event hosted by the computer chip maker that’s making concerted moves into supplying components for in-car electronics and advanced driver aid systems. Talking onstage with NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, Musk wasn’t modest about his views on the future of autonomous driving.

“It’s much easier than people think” he said, noting that the most difficult aspect of driving for current autonomous tech is what happens between 15 and 50 mph. “That’s where you get a lot of unexpected things,” Musk said, including road closures, open manhole covers, pedestrians, and the like.

“Once you’re above 50 mph, it gets easier,” he said. “The set of possibilities are reduced.”
Musk thinks self-driving cars are poised to become a ubiquitous fixture in our transportation landscape. “It’s like an elevator,” he said. “There used to be elevator operators, and we developed some simple circuitry … The car is going to be just like that.”

When will that day come? Musk says a fully autonomous driving system might be as little as one year away. “Autonomy is about what level of reliability and safety you want,” he said, noting that once these systems are proven to be safer than human drivers, it will likely take a few years for lawmakers to react.

Once that happens, “we’ll take autonomous cars for granted in a short period of time,” he said. “It’s going to be the default thing and it’s going to save a lot of lives.”

Read more: Tesla's Elon Musk Predicts Human Drivers Will Be Outlawed | Car and Driver Blog

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