Tesla CEO Elon Musk is one of the brightest and wealthiest men in the world, and when he speaks, people tend to listen. This is why Mr. Musk caused quite a stir earlier this week when discussing the future of cars, and in particular, how driverless vehicles could change everything.
The claim that Musk made that is really generating headlines, though, is that he thinks human drivers will eventually be made illegal – if autonomous cars get to the point where they are safer and more practical than having a human being behind the wheel.
Musk went on to elaborate that driverless car technology is not as complicated as people believe, and that the feasibility of having automated cars on the road already works if a vehicle is traveling over 50 mph. Musk believes that the only issue now is determining how to make the cars a practical possibility between 15-50 mph, when they would have to adapt and deal with things like pedestrians, road closures, and obstacles.
Musk, who has been known to speak candidly and stir up controversy occasionally, took to Twitter later to make it clear that his comments don’t mean that he is in favor of banning people from driving their vehicles in the future – probably a smart move for a man who runs a successful car company.
Musk’s comments appear to be a prediction, and not a desire for a world without human-driven cars, as he laid out in these tweets:
However, when self-driving cars become safer than human-driven cars, the public may outlaw the latter. Hopefully not. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 17, 2015
Whether Musk’s predictions come true remains to be seen; however, the idea seems reasonable and gives us all some food for thought. This would not be the first time that the government has taken drastic actions to improve what purports to be public safety.
Musk believes that a fully autonomous, self-driving car will be a reality within the next year, and at that point, we can begin to fully analyze the possibilities and what the implications of these vehicles are on the future. He further believes that it will be approximately 20 years before a complete switch to autonomous driving on America’s roads would be feasible.
In any case, don’t expect Musk to be pushing hard for autonomous autos anytime soon, he made it clear he still likes to drive his Tesla Model S P85D in “Insane Mode.” After all, what is the fun of driving if you’re not actually driving?
What are your thoughts on the possibility of fully autonomous, driverless cars taking over the road? Let us know in the comments.