Tesla is in talks with Google about driverless technology

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 9, 2013

Elon Musk, the CEO of electric-car company Tesla Motors, said that he hopes that the company will be able to work with Google in the development of autonomous cars. Bloomberg said that Tesla is in talks with Google about driverless technology. However, Musk is insisting that it’s likely that Tesla will form its own system.

According to Musk, the driverless or autonomous technologies would be the next major development for the car since road safety is significantly improved.

Musk told Bloomberg that he prefers the word autopilot to self-driving since the autopilot in planes has been “a good thing.”

Tesla has actually been in “technical discussions” with Google about the driverless cars but Musk considers the roof-mounted laser-scanning system that Google uses to be too expensive and inefficient to be a reasonable option for production cars.

Instead, Musk prefers a more affordable camera-based system with software that can make out what’s going on “just by looking at things.” Musk also said that even if it’s possible that Tesla and Google will do a collaboration, it’s more probable that the startup will build its own distinct autonomous-car technologies. Google owns a fleet of Toyota Prius hybrids and a Lexus RX450h that can be driven without the input of a human being.

Google has gotten the permission of lawmakers to undergo testing of its autonomous cars in Nevada as well as in California. Lexus had presented a semi-autonomous LS sedan at the Consumer Electronics Show.

At this show, Audi also displayed its self-parking systems. Don’t expect the self-driving Teslas to be released anytime soon though.

Musk said that Tesla will concentrate on the launch of electric cars, which include the Model S sedan and upcoming Model X SUV, before putting its focus on using autonomous technology for its production vehicles. Musk told Bloomberg that the Autopilot can’t be more important than hastening the switch to electric cars or offering sustainable transport.

Topics: tesla, google, technology

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